Join Club Momme for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts and more!

Sign up

What You Need to Do If Your Son Won't Play Sports

Photograph by Twenty20

A recent Huffington Post article, "No My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really, it's OK," is getting passed around on social media as if it was a cute kitten video.

Sure, I agree with author Kerry Foreman that we shouldn't assume all boys play or enjoy watching sports. Still, she was missing one crucial aspect of sports in her argument—it keeps kids moving.

I, like Foreman, have a very smart boy in my house. Actually, I have two brilliant kids, but my oldest is particularly like Foreman's son. He loves doing puzzles, reading books and building impossible contraptions with his Legos. He's empathetic towards others, curious about how things work and will never stop asking "why?" (At least, I hope.)

RELATED: How Even Smart US Kids are Way Behind

My son is what I like to call a "puzzle kid." He can sit still longer than many of his peers and concentrate on one task, but this doesn't mean he should always be sitting still. My youngest on the other hand needs to move his body. I'm already anticipating a few behavioral issues next year in kindergarten. He just doesn't want to sit still. Truthfully, his even-tempered big brother has to blow off some steam after sitting for so long, too.

So, we play sports.

Do I push my boys into it? No. If they want to stop playing a team sport one day will I let them? Yes, but with one caveat: They have to pick one activity to do instead that involves moving their bodies.

I was really, really awful. I'm sure my coach was happy to see me go. My parents let me quit with no questions.

As a child I was not encouraged to play sports. I wasn't discouraged, but my parents took the lead from me instead of pointing me towards an active life.

I decided I wanted to play softball? Fine, my parents signed me up. I played two seasons, and I stunk the whole time. I mean, I was really, really awful. I'm sure my coach was happy to see me go. My parents let me quit with no questions.

Swim, play tennis or run around the block. Encourage your children—even smart bookish sons!—to keep moving.

Next, I wanted to join the high school swim team at school. Great, go for it! I lasted one season before I was overwhelmed by after-school practices, clubs and homework. I was allowed to quit that too, really any sports whenever I wanted to. But never academics.

This has left a void in me as an adult. Although my mind is strong, my body is weak. I was naturally thin as a kid. But after two babies, I can tell you my metabolism is shot, and I really have to work to keep my figure. Not easy when that pack of mint Oreos is calling my name.

Right now, I'm training for my first half-marathon, having never been a runner. I wish my parents had pushed me more athletically. I hung out with all of the athletes in school, but I couldn't run a mile to save my life. Looking at my boys, I won't let that happen.

Kids need to move their bodies, whether it is through organized sports or not. You and your child need to commit to bike rides, hikes, swimming laps at the local pool in the morning or jogs around the block after school each day before homework and dinner.

RELATED: 10 Apps That Take the Guilt Out of Screentime

Or sign your sons and daughters up for salsa classes, so they can impress their friend at the school dance, I don't care. Just never, ever tell them that it's OK not to be regularly active in some way.

Swim, play tennis or run around the block. Encourage your children—even smart bookish sons!—to keep moving. Get him an audiobook to help him run if he just wants to sit around reading all day, but don't let him be a lump on a log working his brain, but not his body.

Share on Facebook

Explore More: sports, fitness, advice, dad, health, body image
More from kids