Let Them Be Little

We are well into Fall Ball and both of my boys are playing this season. This means that I am spending a lot of time at the baseball field. Which means I am observing a lot. And there’s one thing that keeps coming to mind.

Let them be little. 

let them be little 1

We throw our kids into organized sports at such an early age and expect them to just get it. We expect them to walk out onto that field and play like Derek Jeter. What we forget is that they are 3, 4, and 5 years old. Three year olds aren’t supposed to be expected to stand in an outfield and not play in dirt.

And why should we want them to do anything but that?

It’s what they are supposed to do.

They are supposed to play in the dirt.

And be silly.

And, honestly, it’s my favorite part of t-ball. Sports become competitive so quickly why shouldn’t we hold onto the fun while we can.

Before it becomes about outs.

And the final score.

Let them be little. 

And if they are scared? Let them cry. 

let them cry

Because it can be scary. Imagine yourself at 3 years old standing at home plate with a bunch of strangers staring at you. It can be scary. And it is ok to cry in baseball.

Let them giggle.

let them giggle

Let them play in the dirt.

Let them run to third base instead of first.

Laugh, not at them, but with them. Show them sports are supposed to be fun, first and foremost.


Sports should be fun. Not about what they didn’t do. But what they did do. And if all they did was play in the dirt, well hey, at least they stayed out on the field.

Look for the small victories.

And celebrate them.

let them be little

Let them be little. 


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  1. I love this my son just started playing soccer and it’s not even teams it’s just instructional and I’m amazed by how many parents are pushing the kids to be stars and to take it seriously rather than just enjoy the fun.

  2. Thank you for writing this – I am finding it difficult to remember as he starts school, has accidents, tattles on friends, is tattled on, has arguments, plays rough and cries when it’s me at pickup and not Daddy. He’s little. He’s 4. It’s ok. I think we need this reminder more often!

  3. I agree wholeheartedly, Stephanie. My daughter’s been playing sports for so long and she is at the age now when it really is starting to (and supposed to) be competitive. I do think it’s good once you get to a certain age. However, after watching my older daughter play her games this weekend, we then watched our little 6 year-old son play his games… that’s a whole different story. They were running around like crazy out there on the soccer field, not really knowing what they were doing. I listened to some parents yelling as if their kids were making mistakes in the World Cup and it killed me. I don’t want my son to hate the sport. I want him to have fun. Mistakes are supposed to happen… that’s how they learn to do it the right way.
    Thanks for the great post.

  4. I could not agree with you more!!! I know, my kids are disabled, but know what? The other kids SEE THEM enjoying kid stuff and they want to hang out with them. Kid play is the most important education you get in terms of social skills ANYWAY. Thanks for writing this!

  5. I love this. Having three bonus daughters, all in sports and two in softball in particular, I’m a big advocate of not forcing them to act too “grown up” too fast. There’s plenty of time for that.

  6. What a wonderful post! I agree wholeheartedly … my son is now 13 and I miss those days when playing ball was just fun and we laughed sometimes until we cried at the funny antics on the field. It is not so fun anymore … hold on to those days!! Stopping by from the SITS Girls.

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