When Should My Child Start Focusing On Sports?
TekyGo! gets kids moving as early as 1 year old.
One of the questions that I always get from parents is ‘when should my child focus on one specific sport?’. This question is a very important one because we want to make sure children are getting the best opportunity to excel in what they are interested in, and this is where fundamental movements skills come in.
Children go through several phases of motor development from birth to 14 years of age.[i] The first phase is called the Reflexive Movement Phase, which lasts from birth to one. This is the phase where infants are using their reflexes to explore the environments around them. The second phase is called the Rudimentary Movement Phase, which includes very basic movements like crawling, walking, etc., this phase is usually between the ages of 1 to 2 years old. Then comes the Fundamental Movement Phase, and this phase is quite different from the first two phases just mentioned. Unlike the first two phases, the skills in the Fundamental Movement Phase do not develop automatically. Children need to learn how to perform fundamental skills, which include jumping, hopping, throwing, kicking and many others. These skills serve as building blocks for more complex and specialized skills.[ii] If children are not taught how to perform these skills with proper technique, then they will not be able to use these skills in an efficient and sophisticated manner. The good news is that this phase is from 2 to 6 years old, so children have plenty of time to master these fundamental movement skills and thereby be equipped to use them in different recreational or even competitive settings.
So, to answer the question of when should a child focus on one specific sport, the answer is around 6 to 7 years old. Before this, children should be exposed to a wide variety of different movements and have opportunities to practice these skills as often as possible.[iii] TekyGo! games provide the opportunity to develop at least one of these fundamental skills, which is hopping. Children can hop to different speeds, to different rhythms with different goals, which makes learning the skill fun and challenging at the same time. Whether the child is hopping on one foot or just learning to hop off two, the different games on TekyGo will encourage and challenge each child to develop his/her hopping skill at his/her level. By integrating educational concepts into the games, TekyGo is helping the child learn to age-appropriate concepts as well as movement skills at the same time.
So let’s get playing so children can move and learn! 3,2,1, TekyGo!
About the Blogger:
My name is Alain Koo and I am a Professor in the School of Early Childhood Education at Seneca College for over 16 years. I have been married to my lovely wife Pearl since 2002 and we have a son, Tyler, who is 6 years old.
At Seneca College, I teach curriculum and child development courses ranging from infancy to middle childhood, and also specialize in Physical Literacy. I have also partnered with non-profit organizations such as Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association, Girls Addicted to Basketball and York Region Public Health to promote Physical Literacy to children 2-6 years old.
[i] Gallahue, D. L., Ozmun, J., & Goodway, J.D. (2011). Understanding motor development. New York, London: McGraw-Hill.
[ii] Clark, J. E. (2007). On the problem of motor skill development. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 78(5), 39-44. doi:10.1080/07303084.2007. 10598023
[iii] Whitehead, M. (2013). What is physical literacy and how does it impact on physical education. Debates in physical education, 37-52.