Youth Sports: Are They Worth It?Heather Neal
In an age where parents feel like their kids must do all the things, it’s tough to know what activities to put them into for their benefit, and which ones you push them into because sally-tiger-helicopter-mom does.
From piano to gymnastics to team sports, there are a billion things to choose from. Besides the potential to over-schedule our kids, what do these activities do to our wallets?
Let’s set aside all the other options and look at good old fashioned youth sports. T-ball, soccer, basketball, swimming. What does it cost and is it worth it- both to your budget and your child’s well-being?
When it comes to costs, there’s no denying the dollar signs can add up quickly. Uniforms, equipment, mid-game snacks, travel costs. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. The average parent spends $671 on sports each year, with 1 in 5 crossing the $1,000 threshold. There are some money saving options though. Rec leagues cost much less than travel teams, though you may be limited in skill level. Then you have different sports, all at varying price points. You can look at the included infographic for more details, but as an example, swimming is at the low end of the cost totem pole, where as football will likely have you spending the big bucks.
If you’re going to fork over that kind of dough, is there even any reason for younger kids to be playing sports?
Yes! Benefits of youth sports include improved self esteem, better body image, and a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese. Kids Play USA says kids who play sports are less likely to drop out out of school and abuse drugs and alcohol. Learning how to make fitness fun at a young age sets kids up with a foundation for good health throughout their lives.
On the flip side, some people think that the parental domination of youth sports causes the opposite effect, saying it may negatively affect kids by putting too much pressure on them and taking the fun out of it.
All I can say is, I sure hope my son likes swimming…