Extreme parenting fail: Athletic training for toddlers

Here I was thinking that maybe the time has come to start looking into registering my almost 6-year-old daughter for soccer when I find out that apparently we're way behind, according to some parents who believe their kids have to start sports training as early as possible. In fact, unbeknown to me, it turns out that there are a series of DVDs and sport classes around the country that help parents groom their children as athletes--many times, before they even learn how to walk.

Listen, I'm all for teaching our children to be healthy from the get-go and staying active is one incredibly important way to do that, but to enroll them in soccer practice at 18-months seems a bit of an extreme to me.  


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I'm sorry, but I just don't get it, what can an 18-month-old child, who probably just learned how to walk a couple of months prior, be taught in a structured soccer class that he couldn't just learn playing with a soccer ball at home with his dad? I mean, if it's done in the name of health, anyone who's ever had a toddler knows that most are incredibly active without the help of over-prized competitive sports classes.

But see, here's the thing, apparently many parents believe that these sort of classes will give their children some sort of edge in sports later on in their lives. Really? I guess I must know nothing about sports because I can't really imagine how teaching a toddler about sports, its rules and regulations and the equipment used--as some of the sports DVDs out there attempt to do--can somehow give them an advantage.

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In the end, I just think it's super sad that parents are constantly worried about their kids fall behind somebody else's kids and thus the push to do things at a much earlier age. Again, I have nothing against being active, but wouldn't it be better to just let kids be kids without the need for structure at such a young age?

What do you think about enrolling your son in soccer classes at 18 months?

Image via ra_hurd/flickr

Topics: child rearing  on parenting