Kids will express their interest in sports at different ages. And while many parents may think “the younger, the better,” this is not always the case.

There are some children who are physically ready but are not quite emotionally and mentally prepared. Or they may not have a desire for sports whatsoever. And then there are kids who are very keen but may still be considered too young for organized sports.

According to the KidsHealth, children are emotionally and physically ready for organized team play by the age of 6 or 7. Before that age, kids still lack the attention span and motor skills. By age 6 or 7, children are also already in regular school and know how to take direction.

However, if your child shows enthusiasm for a sport before the ages of 6 or 7, do not discourage them. Do what you can to expose them to the sport in the most fun and age-appropriate manner possible. While they may still be too young to be a part of a team, you can still enroll them in after-school programs or engage in activities on your own time.

Make sure that the environment is suitable for their age. Kids as young as 3 have been known to run, dance, ice skate, and dabble in gymnastics.

Many experts believe that there are specific sports that are best for every age group. Kids aged 6 to 9 have the ability to focus for longer periods of time and can therefore be trained easier.

Organized activities such as football, touch rugby, martial arts, swimming, tennis, and running are perfect sports for the 6 to 9 age group. With sports, it is crucial that children understand the rules and regulations which are in place for not just fair play but for their safety. However, this age is still too young for the pressures of more demanding sports.

By the age of 10, kids are much more prepared for sports that are more mentally and physically demanding. Sports like football, basketball, volleyball, and hockey require players to have good vision, coordination and the ability to recall game-play strategies.

When choosing the right sport for your child, a matter of interest and enthusiasm should be the focus. You may feel that they are already at the right age for a particular sport. However, if they show no desire to participate, it doesn’t matter how old they are or whether you feel that they are physically and mentally ready.

With sports and kids, it is always best that kids are introduced to a sport only if there is a genuine interest to learn. Stay positive and encouraging by letting them recognize on their own how much fun it will be to participate. Remember that at the young age of 6, kids aren’t thinking about the long-term benefits of sports. They don’t fully understand how sports will prepare them for life.

And don’t be surprised if your child likes one sport this year and changes their mind to another sport the following season. Let them explore and realize which sport is best for them.