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What To Do When Your Child Wants To Quit Team Sports

December 13, 2023

Your child wants to give up playing organized sports, but should you agree? There are many reasons why that might not be a good idea. Let’s look at the benefits, how you can encourage your child to keep going, and when it might be the right time to stop.

When To Stick It Out

Most children are ready to play organized sports at about age 6. It’s important to focus on fun and not force participation or fixate on winning.

When children have fun playing sports, they are more likely to remain involved in athletic programs and stay physically active throughout childhood, which will give them lifelong health benefits for their developing body, brain and self-worth.

Organized sports keep kids active and teach important life skills, such as teamwork and how to manage conflict. Kids who play on a team can gain self-esteem and confidence from learning new skills, and they are less likely to have anxiety and depression or to use drugs.

However, there may come a time when your child wants to quit a team sport, and you think it’s important to stick with it. Try motivating your child with these strategies:

  • Explain that it’s important to finish a season and honor your commitment
  • Be involved in your child’s sport without being aggressive about performance
  • Let your child know you enjoy watching the practices and games
  • Set a good example by being active yourself

Can Quitting Be Positive?

There are times when quitting a sport is in your child’s best interest. These are all situations that parents should thoughtfully consider:

  • Your child is consistently tired. Take a look at all of your child’s commitments to see if they are overscheduled
  • There is an issue with a teammate or coach that cannot be resolved
  • Your child is experiencing anxiety because the sport is too overwhelming or competitive
  • Participating in the sport is affecting your child’s self-esteem
  • Your child is the target of bullying

Sometimes, your child will resist quitting, even when you can see it is healthier to halt a particular experience. Remind your child that there are plenty of other sports and ways to stay active.

Ways To Stay Active

There are many sports that kids can enjoy if they decide that traditional team sports are not for them. For example, swim and golf teams allow kids to compete against themselves while still having the benefits of an organization.

You could also help your child explore:

  • Clubs at school that offer active outings, such as hiking
  • Family activities, such as walking, running, biking
  • Gyms with programs tailored for kids

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