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Are Toddlers Too Young for Sports?

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Today’s parents seem to be in a big hurry to get their kids involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, particularly sports. Sports for toddlers are on the rise starting as young as three years old. Popular sports for 3-year-olds include karate, soccer, dance, and swimming. Some medical experts question if getting children so active this early is wise.

Why are preteens developing overuse injuries?

The number of reported serious overuse injuries is on the rise. More preteens and adolescents than ever are being treated for themajor knee, hip and should concerns. Some of this damage is the result of kids participating in sports too young, while their bones are not yet developed.

Youth sports injuries

The Center for Disease Controlhas reported that several million children under 14 seek medical treatment for sports injuries every year. In the past decade, there has been an increase of five times the amount of elbow and shoulder injuries in young softball and baseball players. Experts believe that children are playing sports too young.

Sports for toddlers

Many may argue that kids need to be involved in athletic activities and that it is never too early to get them started. But medical professionals want the focus to be on play and general movement, not specific sports skills, especially not sports for toddlers. Kids need to learn how to train wisely so they are not visiting an orthopedist by their 10th birthday.

To keep your preschoolers active without injury, follow these tips:

No competitive sports for toddlers

  • • Luckily most toddler sports for 3 and 4 years olds are just playtime with uniforms. The stress of competition can be too much for children under 7 or 8 years of age. Sports for toddlers should focus only on fun and time with other kids. There shouldn’t be any winners or losers.

Explore a variety of activities

  • • The risk of overuse injuries increases if your child focuses on one sport from an early age. Expose your kid to a bunch of activities to allow him or her to use his body in many different ways. Try changing sports with the seasons.

Take a break

  • • Some parents are guilty of overscheduling their children. Providing a diverse structure is important, but little bodies need a break sometimes. They don’t need to constantly be enrolled in activity. Take breaks here and there and explore artistic endeavors.

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses

  • • The sports-oriented youngster doesn’t necessarily have an edge over less involved, more introverted children. Don’t feel compelled to push the toddler sports if your kid doesn’t enjoy the activities. Studies prove that children who start sports early are not more likely to be high school sports stars. The free play actually appears to be more beneficial to your child’s development.