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Finding youth sports for your toddler.

Living in Atlanta where summers are unbearably hot, it’s hard to find things that our 3 year old wants to do outside the house. This summer, my goal was to engage her in activities to help her get out more to interact with other children her age. The challenge was making sure that it was fun and to not let my competitive edge get in the way of her enjoyment. Unfortunately, being a type-A personality and go-getter is not conducive to just “letting things go” but I refuse to be THAT parent that goes insane with the need to have their child win. Research on sites like ResponsibleSports.com really helped to put things into perspective.

As I set out to find her some fun sports activities to participate in this summer, I found that sports for smaller children are very limited. I found that Gymnastics and Ballet were available to her age group and I signed her up. I loved gymnastics as a teenager and was a coach during college at a local gym. I felt that I could impart some of that love of the sport to her. Since I would be helping her at gymnastics class, I figured it would be more enjoyable for her if I enjoyed it too. The second summer activity was ballet. What little girl doesn’t want to be a ballerina? I think it’s infused into female genes to want to be graceful and beautiful princesses gliding across the stage.

Gymnastics

I found a local gym that had a 3 year old program and a nearby dance studio that held weeklong camps for 3 year olds. We’ve been through a month of weekly gymnastics classes and she’s learning new things with every class. Our little girl is definitely a bit of a monkey and loves to swing on the apparatus. It’s a bit of a zoo (pardon the pun), with so many kids running around, but I feel like it’s been a worthwhile experience. Not only is it developing her motor skills, it teaches her important life lessons, like taking turns, sharing, and following directions.

Ballet

The dance school that we enrolled her in for summer camp is fantastic! They focus on smaller classes of children for personal attention and the dance teacher for the smaller children really found some amazing and creative ways to teach them positions and ballet movement. I was extremely impressed by how well our 3 year old did at her first “ballet recital” on the last day of camp.

If you’re looking to start your toddler in some sort of youth sport, I would recommend looking for something available in your area that’s age appropriate. What suggestions do you have to engage your toddler in youth sports?

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