When your baby is on the way or in the first year, hopefully you’re not thinking of activities to put them in. They’re doing so much growing and learning how to operate their own body!


But pretty soon, you might get comments. You know, from people who want to be “helpful.” Comments about how important it is for your children to be in sports or music lessons or dance. There’s even an attitude that you have to start your children early and force them to participate in these because they don’t know what they like… they’ll thank you later.


So here’s some science about preschoolers and even elementary-age children so that you don’t have to feel this societal pressure.


Firstly, there’s actually a developmental stage where children can grasp the concept of losing being okay. Before that stage, it doesn’t matter what you say to them.. they can’t process it. So being made to compete can increase a tendency to anxiety.


Second, children develop important brain processes like risk tolerance and decision making through unstructured, creative play. Being in structured activities where their actions are chosen for them cuts into this important development time.


Third, putting children in competitive or performance-based activities young can culture all kinds of anxious tendencies around a need to perform or fear of failure.


Activities are best saved until approximately after age ten, unless the child shows themselves to be motivated. While it’s true that children can lack follow-through and consistency, they will still show an enjoyment of an activity they actually enjoy.


So relax, Mom and Dad! Instead of feeling like your child will miss out, be at peace. Letting your child continue to have an unhurried, less-structured childhood will give them the tools they really need for success: An ability to judge risk for themselves, an ability to make decisions, and a sense of self-confidence.

With Love, the Baby Discovery Box Team