Children's sports can start out as an enjoyable activity and turn into an overly competitive chore that is not fun for far too many kids.

Pointing to the increasing pressure and competition involved in children's athletics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents do not push children to specialize in one sport, at least until they reach adolescence.

Overall, any physical activity is better than watching too much television. Organized sports contribute to physical fitness while developing basic motor skills. In addition, it can help your child with learn leadership skills, self confidence, and the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship. It will also teach them the importance of success and failure.

In making its recommendation, the AAP cited research showing that young children who participate in a variety of athletic activities and delay specializing in a particular sport until adolescence tend to:

  • Have fewer sports-related injuries
  • Be more consistent performers
  • Participate in sports for a longer period of time