Q: My 8-year-old son played t-ball for three years before we switched him to coach-pitch baseball. He loved t-ball, but repeatedly asked us not to make him play coach-pitch baseball. We signed him up because we thought he might like it and that he needed the exercise, as he tends to be a homebody. He’s miserable, but the season’s not even halfway over. What should we do?
A: The short answer is let him quit. You pushed this on him, so you should let him stop. If he had begged to do it and then wanted to quit, I’d say he should finish the season. But since you insisted despite his protests—and he hates it—let him off the hook.
Now to address your concern about his exercise or lack of movement. There are easier ways to get him moving, so maybe you should leave off organized sports for a while.
Just kick him outside. If he wants to read a book on the front porch, that’s fine. I’ve found that kids will get moving if faced with the opportunity, so getting him out of the house should be step number one.
Step number two is to provide him with the tools of a good outdoor experience. A scooter, bike, outdoor playset and games should do the trick. Chalk and a bouncy ball would work, too. Doesn’t have to be elaborate as their imagination will supply the necessary fun.
You can also tell him to run around the house a few times or take a walk down the block. At 8, he’s old enough to branch out from your house on his own, provided you live in a safe neighborhood (and let’s face it, most of us do).
If you need to, set a kitchen timer for half hour or so, to encourage outdoor activity. With enough opportunity, he’ll eventually want to be outside more than inside.
Do you have a parenting question you would like to see answered on this blog? Email Sarah through the contact page with Parenting Question in the subject line.