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?