|Kidz Sports Ice Hockey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Back in the day, children free to roam outside for hours at a time. There were long games of tag, have races with friends, and even organize some makeshift hockey games with pals. Most of today’s kids, though, will never know this joy. These days, parents are way too scared to let their kids roam free outside. Also, afraid that their kids will get into mischief if left to their own devices too often and desperate for a way to get their kids off of electronics and into exercise, most parents are getting their kids started in organized sports way earlier than was common in my childhood or even in the recent past.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an overly involved “helicopter” parent and even if you do give your kids the joy of playing outdoors unrestricted, at least from time to time, there’s a good chance that you’ll still end up signing your kids up for organized sports earlier than was common in the past. After all, that’s what all the other kids are doing, and undoubtedly, you don’t want your kid to be the “odd one out” or to fall behind the others.
However, despite your best intentions, it really is smart to fight against this trend of entering organized sports too early. To put your biggest fear about not following the pact to rest, know that, if your kid has true talent, that talent is going to show, no matter what age you introduce him or her to organized sports. Furthermore, if you start your kid playing organized sports too soon, you increase the chance of burnout with the sport, which will really derail any plans you may have of your kid going pro.
In my opinion, organized sports, including organized hockey, can wait, at least for awhile. Let your kid come to you and request to play sports, or, at least, wait until your kid is bored with playing outdoors and needs a fun activity to introduce the idea. Kids need time to be kids, to have fun, to play outside. Give them that, and it is my belief that they will end up excelling even more at their chosen sport, whether it be hockey or something else, when the time comes, and, even more importantly, that they’ll be able to do it pressure-free, which will lead to true joy and passion for the sport of their choosing, something that is all too lacking in today’s sports scene.