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Everyone needs exercise, children included. Many parents have trouble picking a sport to enroll their child in, or they enroll them in a sport that isn’t right for them. Kids just want to play games and not feel stressed out, so it’s important for parents to make sure they choose a sport that suits their child’s strengths and personality. If you need help evaluating what sport is right for your child, here is a list that may help you.


Some children are constantly fidgeting and need to be active all the time. Soccer or basketball are perfect sports for this child. These sports encourage near-constant movement and cause players to exert a ton of energy. They also are easy to replicate at home or in your neighborhood, so you’ll have an outlet for your child’s energy all the time. One thing to be cautious of: children with asthma may not show signs until they begin a cardio-heavy sport, so make sure to monitor your child for wheezing or abnormal breathing.


If you have a hard time controlling your child, they may benefit from a self-control lesson taught in a martial arts class. Martial arts are great for slowing down, taking a step back, and thinking through your actions. They are very particular sports, since a misstep or a weak punch can mean the difference between breaking a board and breaking your hand.


Clumsy children are not forgotten, and they certainly shouldn’t be left out. If your child can barely walk a straight line without tripping over air, try putting them in a pool. Competitive swimming is an intense sport, so they will still get the same level of exercise they would if they were playing on land. Plus, moving through water is so different than moving on land that your child might find it more natural.


The natural athlete is lucky, because they can play almost anything and have some level of success. Still, they probably have a favorite sport they would prefer to play, so try giving them the final decision. The only problem is, if your child is significantly better than their teammates, they may feel discouraged about playing below their level. Make sure that you remind them to be a good team player and not to give up, even if they are doing better than the rest of their team. And who knows? There may end up being someone even better.


It’s a fact of life that some children (and adults for that matter) don’t like sports. They might not enjoy watching or playing, and would rather not play a traditional sport. My suggestion for these children is to dance. Many children who are not athletic prefer music, and they may appreciate incorporating that into their exercise. There are all kinds of dance as well, so even if they hate hip-hop, they might love jazz. One of the best benefits of dance is that there isn’t direct competition in a studio, so hurt feelings are much less likely.

Raising kids is tough, and helping them stay active can be a chore. However, getting them involved in a sport (or two, or three) they enjoy is the key to maintaining their good health. This list is not exhaustive, so talk with your child and work with them to figure out which sport is the right choice.

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