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zogee

How do I help my non sporty, nearly 8 yo son?

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Prancer is coming

I think there are 2 different ways you can help. Firstly, by encouraging exercise. Plenty of good options here already. If you are looking into anything team based, certainly ensure it is fun and lots of different abilities rather than competitive. As well as looking into organised sports, incidental stuff is important, such as walking to school, bike ride on the weekend, playing cricket in the backyard, throwing balls to each other etc.

 

The other thing I would be looking into is something your child will really enjoy and might e good at. Music, drama, coding, scouts etc are all things that will develop skills, allow new friendships and can involve team work. Or even getting involved in the community by volunteering eg visiting nursing home, umpiring or scoring in sports, later joining St. John’s ambulance ect.

 

i think there are things you can do with the school, but one of the handiest things I have found when my kids have had trouble with kids at school is them knowing they have friends outside school.

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zogee

I think the immediate issue here is to deal with his peer's understanding of his difficulties.

 

Because he has muscle tone issues it'll be a long while before his gross motor skills will catch up near his peers. Of course you should look into activities that help improve his muscle tone, but that's not going to change the teasing and bullying soon enough.

 

Go talk to the teacher and be open to the idea of the class discussing muscle tone issues openly. Kids need to understand and accept differences and it often has to be directly taught. It would be worth it (I think) for your son's class to be told directly that he has hyper mobility and what that is and how it affects him. That he'd love to be good at sports, but that it will take longer for his muscles to do what theirs can do. That it doesn't help him to give him a hard time about no being able to do things his muscles won't let him do well yet. The teacher should be able to do this in a sensitive way and it need not focus entirely on your son. There may well be other kids in the class with different struggles and the teacher can simply focus on being kinder towards others who have various difficulties for various reasons.

 

I wouldn't be aiming for team sports at this stage. Stick with whatever therapies you have and individual activities that will help his muscle tone. Look for non sport activities for him to develop friendships, a band, coding club some sort of science club, art group???

Thank you so much, I completely agree. The problem isn’t with him it’s with his peer groups behaviour, really. He can’t change the way he is and he has so many amazing qualities that are far more important than being a fast runner.

 

Thanks everyone for your support it really helps! I just want to fix it for him but I can’t :( I have encouraged coding and art classes but he’s reluctant to go without me being there. (His dad does karate with him as he is a karate teacher)

I will explore physio and get back to swimming too.

Thanks again EB

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Not Escapin Xmas

How does he find the rest of school? DD (also 8) doesn't like sport much and when she complains, I remind her that she only has a few hours a week when she struggles. Lots of kids struggle for the rest of the time and sport is their only respite.

 

I'm not excusing other kids being little sh*ts and I'd definitely talk to the sports teacher, but I do find with DD a bit of a 'bigger picture discussion' can help... a bit...

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BeAwesome

My eldest DD (11) has low muscle tone, hypermobile, and generally no interest in sports. She nearly always comes last at swimming and athletics. Her general fitness has improved since she started Taekwon Do 2 nights a week, and she does dance as part of musical theatre. She liked girl guides when she was younger, and doesn't mind going to places like Urban Xtreme. She spends most of her time singing, playing music, and drawing.

 

My younger DD (8) also has low muscle tone and hypermobile, but very active. She does cheerleading 4 - 5 hours a week, and swimming twice a week. She does reasonably well at athletics, and very well at swimming. She spends lots of time tumbling.

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JoanJett

Thank you so much, I completely agree. The problem isn’t with him it’s with his peer groups behaviour, really. He can’t change the way he is and he has so many amazing qualities that are far more important than being a fast runner.

 

Thanks everyone for your support it really helps! I just want to fix it for him but I can’t sad.png I have encouraged coding and art classes but he’s reluctant to go without me being there. (His dad does karate with him as he is a karate teacher)

I will explore physio and get back to swimming too.

Thanks again EB

 

Having a son who is a mirror image of yours with respect to sport (ours now 11), the problem is that kids absorb the messages of adults - not just their parents, but also PE teachers. It is my personal experience that not all PE teachers focus on sportsmanship and supporting a team. Many do, but we had one specimen who not only facilitated the peer behaviour, but also engaged in the mocking himself.....

 

What helped our boy was to reframe in a slightly different way than others have suggested. We talked about different natural abilities, but also talked about the role of practise. We emphasised the fact that people do/practise what they're good at, because they enjoy it and because there is more reward. For our son, anything academic/musical, for others sport. We emphasised the connection between practise and ability. There's no doubt that practise won't correct for the physical barriers (our son has hyper flexibility and developmental coordination delay and is the most awkward child you're likely to meet) but it helped him see that avoidance wasn't an option, as he would never improve. It was very easy to correlate his difficulties to classmates with learning difficulties and the challenges they face daily. We also talked about all the other benefits of sport/physical activity for his general health. We also talked about personal physical goals that were appropriate to his personal physical development - riding a bike years after others was a major celebration in our family. We're now at a point where he celebrates moving from last division to second last division for athletics.

 

I personally believe that team sports at the age of 8 are more detrimental than helpful for many children, because of all the issues you and others have identified. So we absolutely made it all about him in terms of physical activity. There are many individual sports that can have a team element - swimming, tennis, fencing, archery, long distance running, cycling....There are many ways to enjoy physical activity - walking, bushwalking, climbing, exploring. There are many ways to have a team experience outside of sport - apart from all those mentioned, I would include things like choir and debating (although he's a little young for that). It's worth focussing on core skills and fitness for his physical development - set goals and celebrate them.

 

It's a hard realisation that many 8 year olds are pretty self-absorbed and still often filter-free. They'll state the obvious, and it absolutely sucks if you're the kid that cops the attention. It's not an easy path. I remind my son daily that he only has sport activities for a few sessions per week but others have to face their challenges for most of the school day. It feels mean (particularly when he also has ADHD to contend with) but our favourite go to is that in recent years, Australia has more Nobel winners than World Champions, particularly for athletics.

Edited by JoanJett
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Lifesgood

My DS (9 y/o, mild ASD) has low muscle tone and poor hand-eye co-ordination. Ball sports and team sports have been no good for him. We insist he has to do physical activity, and just kept trying till we found activities that work for him. For DS it has turned out to be Jujitsu and swimming, both of which he enjoys. Both are helping him build strength which in turn are helping him do better at school sports.

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Lady Monteagle

Oh and yes yes to PP re: celebrating child-specific achievements. Using humour in this respect helps us too. For instance, at his first swimming carnival where he could swim 50m, that fact alone was a big proper serious celebration, and then we had more light hearted celebration when: "you came last but with not a very big gap!" then last year we had a mighty family fuss after he came out of the pool proudly proclaiming, "did you see mum? I CAME SECOND LAST!!!!"

 

But again, this only worked because his school was an inclusive, supportive environment. They all got participation points for their house just for entering a race, so his peers were very supportive of him just having a go, and for his first ever 50m race the dad-helper with the stopwatch in his lane, who had to stand there for quite a while after the rest of the lanes had finished, clapped him on the shoulders and happily posed for a post-race pic.

 

THIS is how physical education should be taught and fostered, and I hope you can get somewhere down that road with your school.

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Elizabethandfriend

I have one with the same issues. Dyspraxia, low muscle tone and inattentive ADHD all make sport hard and unenjoyable. He also has a sister who is a State medallist in swimming and finds all sport easy.....

 

We have tried lots of things but the most successful have been karate (agree its best done 3 times a week but twice a week is helping a bit), swimming lessons twice a week (in the hope of eventually getting to squad) and sports done in a clinic style where there is no game. We have found Australian Sports Camps welcoming and inclusive for school holiday intensive programs.

 

If you child is willing to do gymnastics I think that is the ultimate for building strength and coordination.

 

Piano lessons are also good - a bit of strength, a lot of coordination and great preparation for a more social band or orchestral instrument down the track.

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Ruf~Feral~es

We talked about different natural abilities, but also talked about the role of practise. We emphasised the fact that people do/practise what they're good at, because they enjoy it and because there is more reward.

 

This is such a good point, and is true for many things they do throughout school. DS plays soccer at school in winter, and often says "I hate it, I'm crap at it". DH counters with "Well, lets go over to the park on the weekend and practice" - which DS always says no to.

 

This reinforces that he practices his instruments, tennis, etc, because he enjoys it, and he could be better at soccer or other sports - its his choice!

 

Also that not everyone can be good at everything, he is doing well at tennis, music, academics, Doe s he want to put in the time to do well at soccer? he doesn't have to be great at soccer if he doesn't want to - but he does have to participate.

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amdirel

I have one with hypermobility, hypotonia, chronic severs (years and years chronic), and is pretty stocky. He also happens to love trying new sports and giving everything a go, but is also a perfectionist with anxiety, so you can imagine how FUN that is! :(

 

Soccer was a massive fail after giving it a few seasons of effort. Horrid bloody kids and parents that think they're going for the next world cup (ermmm... we were playing in D grade!!). I hate team sports for this reason.

 

Physio is definitely helpful. He also did small group exercise sessions with the physio which were amazing, we only stopped because it clashed with other things. He's now old enough to go to the local gym during the teen supported hours, so he's loving that.

 

Physio said swimming is great for kids like him, as it's great exercise but is supportive for the joints. He did do lessons when he was younger but stopped.

 

Martial arts is great, but with no fighting due to risk of injury to joints. DS did taekwondo for a while, he really enjoyed it, but unfortunately for him he constantly compared himself to his super strong and fast teenage brother, and couldn't get past the fact that he wasn't at the same standard, so he quit just before black belt (thanks anxiety!).

 

He now loves tennis. I won't say it's easy though; he's not exactly long lean and fast, but he's enjoying it so that's the main thing. But I'm just nervous of him getting to the point of comparing himself again...

 

He's very musical too and plays in a couple of bands. It's great that he has this skill that not everyone has, and that it doesn't rely on physical ability.

 

He also does scouts which we love for so many reasons.

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zogee

 

 

Having a son who is a mirror image of yours with respect to sport (ours now 11), the problem is that kids absorb the messages of adults - not just their parents, but also PE teachers. It is my personal experience that not all PE teachers focus on sportsmanship and supporting a team. Many do, but we had one specimen who not only facilitated the peer behaviour, but also engaged in the mocking himself.....

 

What helped our boy was to reframe in a slightly different way than others have suggested. We talked about different natural abilities, but also talked about the role of practise. We emphasised the fact that people do/practise what they're good at, because they enjoy it and because there is more reward. For our son, anything academic/musical, for others sport. We emphasised the connection between practise and ability.

Yes this is such a great point. and I do think he avoids activities that he finds hard (which is human nature!)

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zogee

There’s so many good posts on here I can’t respond to them

all but I have read them and really appreciate everyone’s input.

And it looks as though there’s SO many of us in the same boat! These kids will probably grow up to run the world, being computer programmers scientists and engineers but we just have to survive

Primary school first!

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Lifesgood

I am also amazed at how many have kids in the same boat! And how many find martial arts helpful.

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