If you have a pre-schooler, you may be wondering what age you should get them into team sports. You may also be wondering which sport is right for young kids.
While we’re (admittedly) a little bias, we believe pre-schoolers should play soccer. Here’s why:
Many pre-schoolers find it difficult to adjust to new situations without mum or dad. Being able to perform an activity independently (even if mum and dad are watching from the sidelines) is an important part of development for pre-schoolers.
Soccer gives kids the chance to learn that they can be ok when they’re not holding onto mum’s hand. They’re also surrounded by new friends and supportive adults who keep them safe while they’re learning independence.
Motor skill development
Many sports are good for developing pre-schoolers’ motor skills, but soccer is particularly great. This is because it covers so many different skills at the same time. One practice session will cover jumping, kicking, running, controlling the ball, and practicing skills like balance and coordination.
Foot coordination typically takes longer to learn than hand coordination. This makes soccer a great way for preschoolers to develop these skills
Let’s face it, small children aren’t the greatest when it comes to waiting patiently. They’re still the centre of their world, and often believe they should be able to go first every time. Soccer gives pre-schoolers practice standing in line, containing their excitement while they listen to instructions, and waiting their turn while someone else uses the ball.
Pre-schoolers can find it difficult when they don’t always get to score all of the goals or always get to be first. Soccer helps kids learn that it’s ok if they’re not always the centre of attention. It also teaches them the appropriate ways to resolve any conflicts with their teammates or opponents as they naturally occur.
Sometimes soccer players will need to try the same move over and over again before they get it right. This includes everything from basic skills like passing the ball to more advanced skills like dribbling or shooting a goal.
Soccer teaches pre-schoolers that they need to stick with a task until they succeed, even if they’re having a bad day or find that task difficult.
Both soccer training and soccer games involve discipline. Pre-schoolers learn to listen, respect their coach, respect the rules, and wait patiently. This teaches them to self-regulate their behaviour and makes it easier for them to use the same skills once they go to school.
Because soccer is a fast-moving sport, it keeps little ones engaged. We all know that pre-schoolers have short attention spans. And you may notice that when trying a sport like cricket, they end up sitting on the ground, chasing butterflies and playing with the grass.
Soccer has a lot of action, which keeps small children interested. The limited breaks and constant running also help kids who have a lot of energy.
For only-children, or kids without siblings near the same age, playing with other kids can be a new experience. Soccer emphasises teamwork. Pre-schoolers perform drills that require them to work together with other kids, and the whole team must also function well together in order to play against another team.
This is where kids combine many of the other skills they’ve learned, including patience, conflict resolution, and discipline. They then use these skills to be an active member of the team.
Easy to Learn
The basic game of soccer is easy for small children to learn- they just need to know that they should kick the ball into the goal and they can’t use their hands. Positions, skills, and strategy come with age.
The sport doesn’t have many complicated rules for little ones to learn, and this reduces the chance of them getting frustrated during practice and games.