Sports, While many parents are heeding the advice of experts and resisting the urge to have their kids focus exclusively on one sport too early in life, a University of Alberta professor who specializes in youth development is advising parents to keep their children’s activities in balance. It’s about leaving room for children to enjoy childhood, explain Nick Holt.

Multiple sports and activities

Parents are understanding the benefits of youth participation in multiple sports and activities; so such as building a solid foundation of movement skills. However, some are taking it too far; also this can be just as detrimental as early specialization for the young athlete, they said. The risks of over scheduling too many activities are similar to specializing in one sport: burnout, injury and eventual dropout are often the outcome.

The added pressure of managing a number of activities; so especially as the kids age and responsibilities increase, can increase stress and anxiety levels in kids, they said. Multi sport athlete is a term that has been growing in popularity; so in mainstream media over the past several years. Holt said the recent emphasis on multi-sport involvement comes at a time; so when parents are overly concern with early specialization of their young children.

Stories of parents who fill up their 10 year old hockey player’s schedule; so with year round hockey as well as dry land training and power skating have become common and are cause for concern, said Holt, who add the research shows the singular focus on one sport not only leads to higher dropout rates; but is also associate with an increase in the risk of injury.

Variety of movement scenarios

Putting your kids in different sports exposes them to a variety of movement scenarios. Swimming is very different from soccer, and soccer is very different from curling, said Holt. By sampling different types of sport, youth are building a good foundation of movement skills; which will help them as an athlete and should keep them physically active later in life.

According to Holt, sport camps are a great way for youth to reap the benefits of sport sampling. Multi-sport camps, in particular, are ideal for helping to find that balance; so especially for children aged 10 and younger. They are expose to many sports while gaining different movement experiences and sport skills; also finding out what really interests them what they really enjoy.

He added that because camps are often a short time commitment and take place throughout the summer months; so the risk of overscheduling your kids and increasing anxiety levels significantly decreases. Last but not least, Holt also suggests parents carve out time for a childhood rite of passage free play. When all are taken into account, kids will benefit personally; socially and physically, and it will set the stage for a physically active lifestyle.