Training Toddlers to Be the Next Big Sports Star

p_101144114Parents aren’t just worried about improving their children’s reading prowess, they’re also worried about improving their children’s athletic prowess.  A recent NYTimes.com article revealed parents are involving their babies and toddlers (from 6 months to 2 1/2) in exercises that develop their coordination, motor skills, agility, core strength, health, and fitness.

Companies are now competing to offer exercise and sports DVDs aimed at young children that show jumping, kicking, and sports movements.  Children-oriented gyms are also offering sports classes, particularly soccer, to improve children’s physical development.  These sports DVDs and classes not only help kids combat childhood obesity at an early age, they can also give kids an advantage later when they play sports in schools.   

However, some pediatricians and fitness experts are skeptical that enrolling toddlers in sports classes can speed up coordination or lead to careers as all-star athletes.  Kids could actually strain muscles or fracture bones at an early age. Plus, other studies have shown that even if kids grow up to play more sports, they may not get enough exercise.  According to Reuters.com, kids on sports teams can spend more time developing skills and strategies than playing the actual sport.  Plus, as more physical education classes and recess are reduced in schools, sports classes are still not enough to provide well-balanced exercise and physical activity.

Still, maybe a little exercise is better than having no exercise at all, and starting at a younge age might develop better health habits.  As a parent, would you enroll your toddler in a sports or gym class?  Would you want your toddler to be the next big sports star? Share your comments below.

More sports features from Parents.com:

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  1. by Perfecting the Art of Potty Training? | GoodyBlog

    On January 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    [...] already feeling the pressure to speed up their children’s education from an early age, from enrolling toddlers in sports to getting preschoolers to read chapter books. Since some preschools now accept only students [...]

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  3. by Coach Pickles

    On May 7, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Children need outlets. And maybe more, parents need outlets. Too much is being made of the non-competitive gym class style programs being offered by parks and rec and boutique gyms. The nostalgia of kids roaming the neighborhoods and getting exercise through free play is not dead but it is definitely not as prominent as it once was. Giving kids outlets to socialize and experience different types of opportunities, through sport or otherwise, is healthy. Too much is being made of innocent activities designed to be both educational and fun. It is time for many to stop living in the past and recognize it is a new day with new opportunities. Yes there are risks but overgeneralizing those risks and beating up parents at every turn is not the solution. Give ‘em break and begin showing more support. Most parents of young children cannot be concerned about making their child a sport stars, they are just trying to get them to the next feeding.