Organized Activities and 3 Year Old Boys

Updated on August 30, 2011
L.D. asks from Dallas, TX
18 answers

So my husband got the email from a friend, "Hey! Our son and the kids in his preschool are going to be on a 3 year old soccer team. Do you want to sign your son up?" My husband who has been waiting since the pregnancy test results for this question quickly said yes.

We both felt a little apprehensive about our son doing anything organized in a group - he is definitely an independent, strong willed little guy, and normally likes to do his own thing but we wanted to give him a chance to see how he did.

It hasnt gone well. At both practices, my son has totally resisted doing what the other kids are doing, and even being in proximity with them. He ran off to play in the bushes and played with rocks and sticks by himself. The only other boy did the same thing. The rest of the "team" are all girls, who were happily and dutifully running drills and singing a soccer song.

Is this "normal" for a 3 year old boy? Should I keep bringing him in the hopes that he decides he wants to do it? Is there anything I can do to coax him to be more interested in organized activities?

A little more background. My son goes to daycare/preschool so is around other children in a somewhat structured setting all day. The soccer team has practices at one of the other kid's houses, so my son is really mostly interested in trying to get inside and playing with the toys.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses. They are definitely what I wanted to hear.

It is totally fine with both my husband and I if he doesnt want to do soccer now, or ever. We signed him up so that he could have a chance to have the experience to see if he liked it. At home, when I try to get him to play leapfrog, or Simon Says, or any sort of game like that, he normally resists, so I thought he might learn to do better in structured activities if he participated in one with other kids.

This was also a chance for some Daddy/Son bonding time while I had some Mommy/Daughter time with baby sister.

I am not a mom who will have my child in 5 different types of lessons and on 3 different teams, fretting constantly that someone elses kid is doing better than mine.

I was mainly just looking to expand his options beyond the sandbox and pile of sticks in our back yard. :)

Featured Answers



answers from Des Moines on

"I think the phrase "Organized Activites for 3 Year Old Boys" is an oxymoron!"

AMEN! Denise P

I can't IMAGINE my son actually practicing soccer. OTOH, I'd send him if there was a big fenced field he couldn't escape from with the hope he'd do enough actual running to come home TIRED!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

That was my exact experience with my 3-year old. We flexed and let him do what he wanted. :) Some people say it's too young, anyway...

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answers from Houston on

This is totally normal. At this point, in soccer just teaching social skills with game skills thrown in. We put my son in when he was 4, he would stand in the middle of the field and cry, lay down and roll around, pick flowers, he would spin in circles and twirl his arms, wiggle his butt at the other kids and giggle, sometimes he would actually participate. We weren't going to put him back the next year, but he begged. So, imagine our surprise when the first day of practice he was going after the ball, dribbling, making goals... It's purely developmental! In the meantime, you or dad can kick the soccer ball around with him at home.

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answers from Dallas on

Totally normal! I coached a 3/4 year old soccer team and several of the boys were like that. Do not worry about it. I saw one of the responses mentioned contacting Early Intervention. Unless your child has other issues, I would not worry about that.
I would not push too much. Otherwise, he will not want to play soccer anymore. If the season does not go well, take a year off and try again.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Totally normal. That's what makes 3 year old soccer so much fun to watch! Soon, they will run like a small pack or herd.

Wait till he's in right field digging for worms or catching butterflies!

And BTW, I think the phrase "Organized Activites for 3 Year Old Boys" is an oxymoron!

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answers from Dallas on

Three is too young for organized sports for either sex, boys especially. I suggest waiting at least a year before signing him up for anything structured. If he does not on his own express an interest in playing, don't force him.

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answers from Dallas on

In the current world of overachieving parents wanting overachieving kids someone thought organized sports would be a good idea. No child is ready socially to play on a team at 3. They are just moving out of the "me" phase and beginning to learn how was play with other kids. So is he typical in 3 year old behavior? Absolutely! Should you take him out and try again when he's older? That's up to you but don't expect him to play any differently than he does. IMHO I'd take him out and wait till at least 5 and then let him chose an activity. My son just started kindergarten and we offered soccer, baseball, karate or swimming lessons and he has chosen swimming he has no interest in the others at this point.

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answers from Dallas on

Totally, totally normal. Keep bringing him, make him go to games, etc. You all made a commitment to be there, so . . .
One thing that really helped us is to make sure our kids are the ones who said "Yes." that way when they cry or "don't want to" we can remind them it was their decision:)
FYI - My now 4yo cannot WAIT for soccer this year and my 7 yo has played some sort of Y organized sport for the past 4 years and loves it. some of it is a new environement, so treat the rest of this year as a "warm up" but I would work with him on at least staying on/near the field and somewhat on-task with the group - if you can - LOL!
We also helped our kiddos by setting aside family practice time in the yard where we did the same drills as the coach, but one-on-one. It helped the practice seem less "dull" and the boys knew what to exptect (and it gave us all outside time together!!).
Hang in there and try to enjoy it all:)

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answers from Boca Raton on

I think he's too young too . . .

My very, very sports-oriented older son did not start an organized sport until he was 4.

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answers from Denver on

TOTALLY NORMAL... three is too young to expect them to follow the "rules" ... there will be good and bad days. My daughter played at 3. She did ok (as a girl does), but I decided that we'd wait for anymore teams for her (still none and she's 5 in October) and my 3 year old son will wait a while too!!!

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Sounds like my son at 3! I tried several classes with him at that age and he was more interested in the drinking fountain, hinge supporting the art table etc. We tried again at 4 and he's so much more into the activity at hand. Sounds like he's "just not that into it" yet...not when there are so many other cool things to explore and discover - especially at his own pace. No worries! Enjoy this stage and soon he'll be on to the next.

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answers from Honolulu on

He is so young.
"Organized" sports... is not a "have to" for any child or boy.

You do what is YOUR child's, interests.
Go by YOUR child's... interests and talents or proclivities.
That is the best.

Even at this age, they are not necessarily ready for organized anything.

Do not get caught up in, keeping up with the Jones'.
Do only what is right for your son.
Not comparing him.
Not just enrolling him in things because all the other parents are.
Nor feeling you 'have to' because everyone else is enrolling their son in said activities.

I think also, that so many kids are over-scheduled.
Your son is in daycare.
He also NEEDS time, at home, with you, with Daddy and just having family time.
NOTHING is 'wrong' with that.

ALWAYS... go according to your own child's interests and talents or curiosities.

I have a son and daughter.
SOOOO many of my daughter's classmates/peers, are in soccer. As is the trend with kids.
So what.
My daughter herself... did NOT want to do soccer.
GOOD for her.
SHE knows herself and knows what SHE is interested in. She is not a follower.
GOOD for her.
SHE has her own interests and talents. THAT is what we go by.

My son is 5.
He is very athletic and independent and an individual.
HE wants to do martial arts. BUT not yet. We talk to him about it.
He is not ready.
But he KNOWS is own interests.
Which is also music.
He has his own NATURAL talents and inclinations.
That is what we go by.
Not according to what other kids are doing.
As a result, my kids, KNOW who they are.
Very well.

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answers from Dallas on

He just isn't ready. They all mature at different rates of speed and my son started playing on a local soccer team when he was 5. That was the perfect age for him. Yet, I have friends that had their kids doing t-ball @ 4 and they were totally into it. Don't worry that he won't ever like soccer, just give him time. You could go to watch your friend's children's games and give him the opportunity to watch other children having fun. My son always got intrigues when he saw others doing something and always wanted to "give it a try".
Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

Sounds just like my boy. I am not a professional, but I would say please get Early Intervention/Infant Toddler Services a go. They are free. Or get a Parents as teachers/Para to come and see if your child has some sensory issues. It might be that he cannot stand the noise level or activity or that he is lacking some social skills. These can all be addressed.

Here is the link.

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answers from Kansas City on

I think it sounds pretty normal as well. My daughter is about to turn 4 and still isn't on a soccer "team". She does soccer camp type things where they run skill drills and play games (not soccer games but like skill games) and run around, etc. I kind of wanted her on an actual team, but after seeing this I realized this probably was best! I think it's more common for girls to be rule followers in these types of situations as well. My only real advice is to possibly keep him involved in at least 1 extra curricular activity during the winter and spring months as well. This way he'll have more contact with organized events and I'm sure he'll participate more. Don't worry!

Oh and I wanted to say too that I think if my daughter had to practice in the backyard of someone's house, all she'd want to do is go inside and play too! I think that is kind of odd actually and I'm surprised it works, but I guess you have to use what you have!

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answers from Dallas on

So sweet LOL! That's very typical for 3 year old boys. I can't even imagine putting my 3 year old in any such organized group activity. He's just too young for that! :)

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answers from Dallas on

It may be partly that he's just in the wrong class. A class at this age should focus on fun and movement, with short lively activities to keep the kids interest. My sons (age 2 and 4) are both in soccer tots, and they love it. But, I don't think either one would be ready to play on a team ... It would be too boring at this age.

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answers from Dallas on

My 3 year old boy is also in Soccer Tots. He loves it!
It's more skills and foot/eye coordination activities..rather than running up and down a field.
It's very organized & lots of fun.

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