6 Year Old - Sports

Updated on May 18, 2012
J.S. asks from Saint Paul, MN
16 answers

Hi everyone,
So - here is my latest question. How many of your young elementary aged kids play sports? How many of you do not have your kids in sports? Those of you who do sports, how did you decide what to do? Those of you who choose not to, how do you deal with the "everyone else plays" comments from your children (if you get them)?

My son is starting to ask to play baseball. He says he wants to be on a team, but I don't know that he would really want to do all the practice and games. He likes to be home after school (as far as I can tell). But he does like baseball, and lots of the boys at his school play.

I never played sports in elementary. I grew up in northern, rural MN and it just wasn't an option. Now I feel like there are SO MANY options for extra curricular stuff, and in the same breath, feel like we already struggle to get everything done - how would we even have time for sports? My son's school is the "late start" school, he is there from 9 to 3:45. So, we are not home until after 4:00, with homework and playtime I'm not sure about adding "Fall Ball". I would rather have him do swimming (a life skill) and piano (important for brain development, future musical stuff, etc.).

I'm just curious how you do it (if you do) and why you don't (if you don't).


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answers from Philadelphia on

I would let him give it a try if he's asking!
My daughter started soccer at 5, my son started t-ball and soccer at 4. They both asked. They are now 15 and 11 and still on several sports teams each. They do well in school and are also involved in music, art etc. Being on a team teaches social skills.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Our almost 6 year old is learning guitar 2 hours a week, dancing 1 hour a week, and ice skating 3 hours a week.

She is busy, but our schedule runs like this. Monday & Wednesday after school, she goes to guitar for an hour each day, Wednesday after guitar she goes to dance for an hour, and Saturday she has a 1 hour skate lesson and more if she wants and Sunday she skates for fun with her Dad for 2 hours and may practice if she wants.

During the week, she starts homework when we get home while I cook, if there is time, she can veg in front of the TV for about 30 minutes and then it is story time and bed time.

Since school (Kindergarten) started, she goes to bed at 8:30 instead of 10:30 and she was watching a lot of TV. I am glad to see her burn her free time with more skillful things.

And she chose all of her activities. She wants to cheer really bad too, but I don't think she will be able to swing it!

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answers from Boston on

My kids have soccer in the fall, winter, and spring. Teeball in the spring into summer. Dance class once a week. And we do an after school gym program at a local gym.. The school system here only offer gym once every 2 weeks and my kids are busy bodies so we have to supplement. If you chose not to have your kids in programs thats your right and opinion. I know my son is hyper so instead of trying drugs I will try to make him wear himself out :)

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answers from San Antonio on

When all my boys were young, they were in Cub Scouts and got to pick ONE other activity per school yr in addition to that.
So one picked t-ball and the other picked swimming. (Yes, the ONLY sport that can save your life). The swimming kids were fun and the t-ball kid went to practice and to practice and hardly ever played. So he switched to swimming, too.
So did the youngest.

Now I have 3 high school swimmers who work as lifeguards, one Eagle Scout, and one who loves Latin Club, and another who loves Bible Study with friends.

The key is moderation: one sport per year and one something else (music, scouts, chess....) so that they get team experience and brain stuff too.
And when they want to try something else, if in reason, let them.

But our rule was: commit to the season, the school year, the whatever...and no quitting part way thru. "See your commitment thru with enthusiasm."

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answers from Honolulu on

If a kid likes it, they will do it.
If they don't like it, they will not want to go and do it. And it may be a battle to get them to go, each time.

Then there is homework.

My kids don't do 'sports.' They are not into that. My daughter does martial arts. My son, is not in an organized class yet. He does not want to be. But he is also interested in martial arts, and music. Per his, interests. When he is older. He is only 5 now and a full day of Kindergarten and daily homework, wipes him out by evening.

Or you get your son in something, that is on the weekends. Thus the weekday nights/evenings, are not so rushed and no time for homework.... and then getting to bed later at night, just to get it done.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I think one sport is a good idea. My daughter (now 9) started in Karate at age five. She hasn't been too interested in team sports, which is OK with us because karate allows us some flexibility in the days/times she goes to train. If she had pushed for a team sport and showed some talent, we would have done it. She also takes swimming lessons once a week and piano lessons once a week. Oh, and drama/theater once a week. It does take some organization to make sure that her homework gets done and we have family time, but we don't feel that she is overwhelmed at all. It just means limited TV time and no video games in our house...

I grew up in rural Minnesota (South Central), too and there were so few options then, as you said!

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answers from San Francisco on

I love team sports and all the values/lessons they can teach our kids.
If your child loves it you will find a way.
If your child doesn't love it, then no worries, spend your time doing something else!
I have a feeling if you sign him up at age six he will get bored pretty quickly. My son HATED baseball at that age (even though all his friends were doing it) and pretty much any other team sport as time went on, so we never pursued it. He ended up playing some tennis and running cross country and track in high school.
My daughters are naturally athletic, especially my oldest. She played soccer and volleyball and was on the swim team. She is also an excellent skier. My youngest was also good at soccer and swimming, spent almost three years as a competitive gymnast and is now a ballet dancer and occasional actress/singer. As a parent it is a REAL pleasure to support and cheer your child on for something they truly love and excel at.
At six you have plenty of time to let your son try many different things, not just sports but also music/arts as well. Don't feel pressured by what everyone else is doing. I have seen a lot of very frustrated, unhappy kids (even at the high school level) because they were doing something their parents thought they "should" do.
Oh, and carpooling is a MUST! Of course try to make every game but there's no need to drive back and forth to every practice, share the load with your fellow moms and dads :)

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answers from Seattle on


We USED to go 1 per season (school from 8am-4pm...meaning gone from 7-5) only left room for MAYBE 1 activity at a time.

Now that we homeschool our options are a lot broader. We do;

year round
sport: Gymnastics & Aikido & Swimming
xtrac: Music (piano & voice) & Chess & 2 Languages

sport :Basketball & Sailing & Snowboarding
xtraC: Drama & Videogame design

IN BOTH cases we chose by desire + schedule. Our choices have changed over the years. Soccer was replaced by basketball... snowboarding went from 1 day to 4 days, painting was replaced by drama

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answers from Dallas on

My oldest has never been into sports at all. When he was in elementary school, he took swimming lessons once a week year round because he loved swimming. He was a good swimmer, so I encouraged him to stay in it to improve his form. Later, in 5th grade, he took guitar lessons for awhile, and now in 8th grade he runs cross country and plays tennis. Occassionally during the summer he has tried various things as well.

My youngest is 7, and he seems a bit more interested in sports, but doesn't want to play regularly. He needs lots of sleep (so do I), so he goes to bed at 7:00. It would be tough to do something during the week on school nights. Both of my boys love being home during the week also, so they aren't asking to do anything either. My youngest does love golf, so he goes to three golf camps during the summer. He also goes to one basketball camp as well.

This works for us right now, but I can imagine a time when my youngest may want to try something else. We'll have to find a way to be sure he gets enough sleep, though. He's a beast if he doesn't sleep enough. ;) Good luck with your decision. :)

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answers from Dallas on

At 6, if he's asking to play, he's old enough. Make sure he's aware that he will have to go to all practices and games, and if he still wants to play go ahead; but enforce the 'all practices & games' rule, it's not fair to the team to commit and then not show. While team sports might not be 'life skills' or important for brain development they are very good for teaching teamwork, accountability, and social skills - all of which are invaluable both in kids school careers and adult lives. I give soccer a lot of credit for developing my son's leadership skills; he's a core player on the team and as such is held to a higher standard by the other players which has taught him how to be an example and a leader on the team.

My kids play soccer year round. They've been in one sport or another since they were 3. We sign them up once they've shown interest, if they lose interest they have to finish the season (or month for individual sports) and we don't do it again. Now that they're older (9 & almost 8) they've settled into 1 or 2 sports; soccer for both and gymnastics for my daughter.

If it's important to him and you everything will get done. My kids know that on practice days homework comes before playing with friends, and they accept that because they want to play sports. I use my crockpot a lot. I meal plan. We do a lot of mini-meals; small dinner after school and another small dinner after practice since practices are 6 - 8. And yes we probably eat out too much, but that's me being lazy, it's completely doable eating at home too.

ETA: My son played baseball at age 6 for 4 seasons and we dropped it; he hated it. Just didn't move fast enough for him. Same with football, too much down time. Soccer was a perfect fit; lots of action, and he had to think the whole time too - soccer is about 1/2 strategy and 1/2 skill, lol. So if your son is the type who has to be involved in the play the whole time you might want to consider soccer or basketball, they are more physically demanding/engaging.

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answers from Harrisburg on

We started at 7 for team sports, soccer. Just my oldest (now 8) plays on a team but my 3yo went to soccer 'day camp' this past summer (it was only an hour long and I was there with him)

I like soccer because its only two 1.5 hour practices and a game each week. Nothing too busy but enough to let him meet other kids he wouldn't have in school and to keep him active.

I played all sorts of sports growing up through college. I think its a great idea to keep kids involved in something even if its not sport related there is always scouts and such.

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answers from Cincinnati on

My 6 yr old daughter isn't ready for team sports. We tried soccer and she didn't care for fighting over the ball. We decided that we should get her into something individual, so she is in swimming and tumbling, and she loves them both. Swimming is 1 night a week, and tumbling is 1-5 days a week (it's open tumbling, so you can go as little or as many times as you want to!) She isn't overwhelmed with either of these sports which is most important to us. It doesn't take over our evenings and weekends.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son has played baseball from t-ball through 3rd grade (now). Fall and Spring.
(This year, he's also doing basketball in the winter "in-between" season.) I actually think some kids do better when they have a semi-busy schedule to adhere to...
Now I also know families whose kids do 2 sports per season and I found that to be REALLY crazy when we did baseball & soccer.
My son chose baseball because that's what he likes. :)
What does your son want to do?

ETA: Our school schedule is 8:30-3:30, so pretty similar.

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answers from San Antonio on

My kids love baseball/softball but it is a huge commitment. If possible.. if you find a coach or league you are comfortable with stick with it. This is most unusual for me, but this season has been horrible with a rude and unfair coach. Unfortunetly most of these deals or volunteer and some of these folks just should not have volunteered. I feel that ususally it is worth it because the kids enjoy it so much, in these days that you cannot let your kids run free in the neighborhood.



answers from Santa Barbara on

At sic my daughter was in dance and competitive figure skating. She started dancing at 3 1/2 ans figure skating at 5. She didn't started softball at 7...that's late and dropped dance a few months into it. She stayed with both until she played travel ball and that was 5-6 days/week when she wasn't on her regular league or playing for the high school. My daughter does well with lots to do, she's not one to watch TV, play video games or watch the grass grow.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I have every Fall and Spring except this past one, well one did and one didn't, and the current one. We let both kids do Soccer and T-Ball at the Y this spring because the season is shorter with a lot less practices. The Y teaches sportsmanship that other sports seem to forget sometimes.

We have done soccer both Spring and Fall for the older girl several times. She enjoys it a lot but this past Spring was a recital year at the studio and there was just not enough time to do all the extra practices for both.

For a 6 yr. old I would expect 1-2 short practices per week. Perhaps about 45 minutes to an hour one or two evenings per week. Some parents tell the coach at the beginning they can only do 1 time per week. The games are usually on Saturday morning but there are the occasional Sunday games. We do BMX on Sunday afternoons so we don't do Sunday games unless they are the 4:30 ones and we are done racing.

For T-Ball the practices stopped once the games started and the games were on Mon, or Tues, or Thurs. So we could actually do both at the same time and not have lap over.

The reason we choose to do sports. I am morbidly obese. My hubby is too. The kids other grandparents are heavy but not too bad. The kids both will have a tendency to be sedentary and eat unhealthy so I wanted them to learn early on to be active.

Soccer is constant running when playing, T-Ball is more standing around waiting but requires more mental participation, trying to figure out what the batter will do and how to meet the challenge of being where the ball is going to be hit and getting the runner out.

BMX is riding bikes on a path that has hills, curves, plateaus, some jumps when they get older, etc...the power is totally in the hands of the rider, they decide how fast they go, where they choose to ride around the curve part, which strategy works to come in a winner.

We also have the older girl in several classes at the gym/dance studio. She does tap/ballet, Hip Hop, tumbling, and is on the show team. She stays busy 4 nights of the week going to an hour class with one night being for 2 hours. I work there also so she would be there anyway if she wanted to go.

The younger child has sensory issues and doesn't do very well with classes or sports if he can't be constantly moving plus the cost is very high if he's not going to get the full amount out of it. We wanted to put him in football but the cost is $100, $50 for entry fees and $50 for clothing/gear rental. If it were less expensive we would surely have him in it.

We did swimming lessons this summer and the kids really liked them. When the Y offers them again we will do them too.

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