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Why I’m Letting My 4 Year Old Play Football

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You guys will never guess what kind of cuteness is happening in our lives right now! ….okay, you can probably guess because that photo up there is pretty telling, plus I haven’t exactly kept it a secret on social media. (*if you aren’t following me yet, hello… what are you waiting for?! Follow me on my channels over there in the sidebar —–>>) Yes, it’s true, I’m letting my 4 year old play football. And if right now you’re thinking, “wow, isn’t he a little young for that?” then you are not alone. Not only has this thought been on my mind for a while now, but we’ve gotten multiple questions from friends who have the same concerns. In fact, I talked about a little about this in a video, where I pleaded for advice from all my favorite moms.

I was super nervous to have him take on something that is so time consuming at this age. I don’t want him to be doing too much and be overly tired. I certainly don’t want him to burn out on extra curricular activities before they even get started. It’s been a little tough, but he’s done okay. Aside from the random day where he just decides he doesn’t want to go to practice today (I could write a whole separate blog post about trying to teach a 4 year old what it means to commit to a team) or a day here and there where he passed out on the couch before practice and we didn’t have the heart to wake him, he’s done pretty well. And more importantly, he’s really enjoying it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s adorable to my watch 4 year old play football, and my new camera has never been so happy. I’m just not entirely sure how much football he’s actually “playing” at this age. There seem to be kids who totally get it and are 100% engaged, but my kid just isn’t one of those. At least not yet. I mean, the team he’s on is 4-6, so he is the younger age group and this is his first exposure, so it’s not like I’m expecting greatness or anything. It’s still hilarious to watch him be the kid that just stands there watching everyone, wondering what all the fuss is about. Honestly though, I don’t even care. There are so many other things at play here that go so far beyond his football abilities (or lack of, as the case may be). But before we get into that… for your viewing pleasure, I’ve attached a few adorable pictures. Can you spot my kid? I’ll help you out, he’s #5. And he’s the one NOT playing the game.

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Cute right? I know! Alright, let’s get down to business. If you’re curious about my reasons for letting a 4 year old play football, here they are:

The Top 5 Reasons I Let My 4 Year Old Play Football

  1. THE CAMARADERIE. Let’s not forget D is an only child (hopefully not for long, but at least for now). The ways in which I’ve seen him blossom since starting to play on a team, are innumerable. Granted, he’s also picked up a few potty words we aren’t thrilled about… but for the most part, the exposure has been great for him.
  2. WEARING HIM OUT. Do you have boys? If you do, then there is no further explanation necessary. But just in case you don’t, I’ll tell you. This kid is like the energizer bunny. And nothing makes me happier than driving him home from football practice and watching his droopy eyes try to stay open on the way home. YES. Wear yourself out, son. It’s good for you.
  3. LEARNING A NEW SKILL. We love watching him work towards something. He runs drills, works hard, and tries his best every day at practice. I think that is so good for the soul. Ambition, desire, and pride in one’s work is a great thing.
  4. RESPECTING AUTHORITY. Being on a team means learning to respect and listen to the coach. Right now he’s learning that there is more going on outside in this world, than just living at home with Mom & Dad. Respect goes a lot farther than listening to your parents and I don’t think it’s ever too early to start learning that.
  5. EXPOSURE TO CULTURE. Because it’s who I am, I’m going to just put this right here: We’re white. And D is black. You probably noticed that we’re a multi-racial family. Joining a league that happens to be very diverse culturally, is not something we even thought to look for, but it’s nonetheless, something we’re very grateful to have found. The league was recommended to us by D’s barber (who also happens to be the coach). Not only do I love that he is being exposed to a setting where he’s not the only kid on the field with dark skin, but also that he gets to watch Tim and I settle in and feel totally comfortable in a setting where we are very much the minority. I love seeing him thrive on a field full of boys and girls with black, brown, and white skin… everybody’s out there and it is awesome. And because you stuck with me through all 5 of these reasons, I have one extra for you:
  6. BONUS REASON: WE WIN…. A LOT. Our team is awesome. Our coaches are awesome. Our jerseys are awesome. So of course, that makes it really fun as well. Not that I’m competitive…. no. No, no… not at all. C’mon, everybody likes winning.

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So there you have it, my top 5 reasons to let D play football. Yes, I worry that he’ll fall in love with the sport and get super committed to the point where he suffers brain damage from all the tackling and hits. Yes, I worry that he’ll break both his legs or worse someday while playing…. but in reality, after watching him on the field, those fears fall somewhere behind alien abduction and being sucked into a wormhole. Right now, I’m much more concerned with whether he’s going to take his shoe off in the middle of an epic tantrum and chuck it at my face while I’m driving.

Oh wait, he’s already done that.

Leah Sannar

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