26 September 2018

In a world where there is less space to play outdoors and children become familiar with modern technology at a really early age, to which we all dedicate so much or our free-time, it is essential for kids to do some kind of physical activity at least 2-3 times a week.

“Sport is about socialising, participation, tolerance, accepting differences and discipline.”
The European Charter on the fundamental rights of citizens the European Union

When my young patients come in for their milestone check-up between the age of 5 and 6, one of the things I always ask parents is how much physical activity their children do every day, urging them to let their children play a sport regularly.

Practising a sport regularly,helps develop body, mind and character.
Sport teaches the value of effort and how to manage victory as well as defeat, and provides a forum to learn discipline, confidence and leadership, teaching the core principles of tolerance, cooperation and respect, all of which are so necessary in life, now and in the future.

In a very competitive world, teaching children to think and make decisions independently, to strive for success and cope with defeat, are all very important lessons in life.
In the first few years of your child’s life, probably the best sports are swimming, gym, dancing and pre-athletics, which strengthen and develop the body.
The right time to get your child do a sport depends on his or her physical (height, weight, muscular structure), and physiological (strength, resistance, motor skills) characteristics. Generally, this is around the age of 5 or 6.

Motor coordination skills(balance, rhythm, orientation, agility) may be developed in full between the ages of 5 and 11. Later, they become acquired skills and cannot be improved to any significant extent.

Choose the right sport for your child:


When you choose a sport, you should take into account your children’s skills, and above all let them do a sport that they like. Whether you choose a team or individual sport, never try to influence your child with your preferences and expectations. Playing sports is an opportunity you give your children to have fun and socialise away from home, in a protected environment with sound values.
Try to find out as much as can about different sports, before you make your choice.
Two important aspects should however be taken into account:

  • the specific characteristics of the sport, both as regards the physical effort required to play the sport and the psychological aspects;
  • the characteristics of your child, that no one better than you as a parent know.


Physical effort may be subdivided into 4 different groups:

  • Resistance sports, short or long duration (running, walking, swimming, skating, cycling, cross-country skiing, rowing), where movements are repetitive;
  • Alternating sports (football, rugby, basketball, volleyball, tennis), where playing time is alternated with recovery times;
  • Dexterity sports (alpine skiing, artistic gymnastics, diving, fencing, martial arts), that require very good motor coordination skills;
  • Power sports (shotput, 100-metres race, weightlifting), that require above all strength and muscular power.


As regards the psychological aspects, sports may be divided into 4 categories:

  • Individual no-contact sports (swimming, running, tennis, gymnastics, skiing, rowing, cycling) that require remarkable mental ability to support fatigue;
  • Individual contact sports (fencing, martial arts) that require concentration skills;
  • Contact team sports (soccer, basketball, rugby) that help to develop the ability to collaborate and work in a team;
  • Non-contact team sports (volleyball), where similar skills are developed, without physical contact between players.