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Toddler Soccer: Too Much, Too Soon?

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I read some shocking news this week. Here in my very own community, kids as young as 18 months are training to become the soccer stars of tomorrow. The toddlers I know are content sticking toys in their mouths and mashing Play-Doh, and as far as I'm aware, none have expressed an interest in learning an organized sport. So who decided it was a good idea to teach toddlers soccer moves before they've even moved into big-kid beds?

You guessed it, it's parents who are behind the popular program. The coach started the classes with preschoolers in mind, but parents kept pressuring him to let in younger and younger kids. As the reporter explains: "After constant pestering, he gave in to parents and expanded his program....Now he's saying no to parents of 14- and 16-month-olds."

It's generally accepted that sports and other extracurricular activities are good for kids. But taking on too many activities can be very stressful for a child, not to mention exhausting for parents. Many parenting experts and psychologists say families would be better off cutting back on activities to have more family time.

These toddlers are a long way from competitive play. They're still learning soccer fundamentals, like kicking the ball as opposed to carrying it. But I can't help but wonder: If a kid is going to soccer practice before he turns 2, how many more activities will he be juggling by the time he starts school?


#2 catalina 2009-01-03 01:25
I think some people over think things like having a young child in a sport it does nothing more than help release some energy for them as far as whether they like it or not they'll eventually let you know but how can you judge and say its better to be stuck at home doing nothing with your child then going to the out doors and making use of fresh air and some much needed exercise, besides if the child likes it, it can also be a good bonding activity. Yes there may be some people that might put there children through a little too much but you cant just generalize and assume every parent that puts their young child in an organized sport is going to do the same thing. My son is only 16 months old and loves to play soccer just say the word and hes waiting by the car just to go to the park, he only says a few word and his favorite one is GOALL i don't expect him to be an all star or to play professionally but as long as hes enjoying himself i'm happy.
#1 savannah 2008-06-26 17:50
OMG thank you! My friend has her sons (4 and 2) in yearround sports, gymnastics, bible school, bible camp, and a homeschooling coop. They are always on the go. Not one night per week do they seem to be home. Oh wait - now and then they have family night when they watch movies together... but - when is the normal, let's just do nothing and be together time?

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