Group participation

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Group participation
Tue, 06-12-2007 - 10:05am
My 4 1/2 year old grandson was signed up to play T-Ball for the first time.
He refuses to participate! He sits or lays on the sideline. He doesn't cry or talk back, he just wants nothing to do with this. This is his first organized sport. He plays baseball at our house with the neighborhood kids regularly. He also didn't participate in this "graduation" sign along from pre-school. None of my kids did this. How can we help him feel comfortable about participating?
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Tue, 06-12-2007 - 2:00pm

I would probably just remove the pressure. I might say something like, "Oh well, I guess you aren't quite ready for this yet. No worries Dearie, we'll try it again another time."

You could give him the option to just sit in your lap and watch. I would probably model being interested in the softball game, but would try to refrain from being too obvious - for example, saying something like, "Oh boy! That sure looks fun! I bet you'll want to go play ball again soon, huh?" I think kids can see through that kind of talk pretty easily and it just makes them suspicious. But you could say, "Come sit with me, Sweetie, and we'll watch it together. Look - they are learning how to throw the ball!"

At four and a half, he is still pretty young and he has time to mature a little, gain some self-confidence and go play ball on a team. He has a whole year before Kindergarten, right? I think he'll be fine.

Hope this helps a little,


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Tue, 06-12-2007 - 4:33pm
Thanks so much for your reassuring comments!
It is new to us to have a grandchild not participate on the same level that our own kids have in the past. And you are right, that everyone developes at their own pace and this doesn't make him a bad or problem kid.
I appreciate your input.
Enjoy the summer.
Involved grandma.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2007
Mon, 06-25-2007 - 12:41pm

Some kids have social anxiety issues. My son had Selective Mutism which is a social communication anxiety disorder. He was not able to speak in school. He also has difficulty in organized group activities.

I think sports is really hard for kids at age 4. Alot of skills are needed such as listening and following directions, focusing and attention and of course coordination. I think preschool will help these skills as he gets older.

My son is 6 and 1/2 and just started T-ball this spring. He did very well. He stayed for the whole game and payed attention to the ball.

It takes time. Keep trying. Don't give up. It takes a long time to overcome social anxiety and obtain skills needed for sports. Good luck and have a great summer!