Who Cares About Tag?

Here is Babyboy in the cockpit of a Boeing 737. He is SO happy when surrounded by electronics, computers, mechanical things…


He’s five years old. He’s loved to take photos on the iPhone for a year or more. He knows how to take bursts, experiments with angles and light. He knows how to post photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If given a few moments of unsupervised time with my phone or the iPad, he quietly and efficiently takes (and more recently, also posts) photos. Last week, he taught Hubby how to take a screenshot on the iPhone.

But, he can’t play tag. When the kids have time to play on the playground after school, and a spontaneous game of tag erupts, he’ll get tagged almost immediately, and then throw himself on the ground and start crying. I’ve tried to explain the game to him, but he doesn’t get it.

He couldn’t be less interested in playing ball. Babygirl is four, and she will throw and kick and run after any soccer ball, football, baseball, for hours. Loves it.

Today, Babyboy had an appointment with the developmental pediatrician at the specialty hospital downtown. We explained the tag thing and the sports thing. She encouraged us to keep trying, to push him a bit, so his physical strength and coordination didn’t lag behind his peers too much. Her reasoning: If you don;t push him now, the gap will just widen.

Me, I’m torn on this. If he’s a budding computer genius, let him be a budding computer genius. If he’s really into visual arts, let him be into visual arts. I’d love to find classes, camps and clubs in these areas for him.

But somehow, he’s signed up for soccer.

We don’t know. What’s the right approach?

11 thoughts on “Who Cares About Tag?”

  • I had a an amazing athlete kid and a totally disinterested in sports kid, the disinterested one had a chance at T ball, soccer, basketball, but did not enjoy it the way the athlete did. I feel that using your body actively is important, but not necessarily team sports where your lack of interest affects the other kids and possibly gets you hassled. How about individual sports, swimming, running, etc. Be active, be healthy, but in ways that don’t cause teasing and do allow personal enjoyment.

    • Yes, I think that is a good approach. Being fit and healthy is important, participating in team sports, not so much…Not if it doesn’t make him happy.

  • Hard choices…is it either/or? Can he do some physical stuff and some computer/electronics stuff? I understand the logic of helping him develop some skills now; I also wonder, though, about putting him in situations where he is constantly frustrated. He also has peers who are wild about electronics and that might be the more important peer group for him.

    Have you worked with an OT? My friends with kids in similar situations have found OT to be *really* helpful, because they are experts at breaking down physical tasks into teachable steps.

    • Thanks Jay- Agreed, now that I think about it he really likes riding his bike, swimming lessons, playing outside in general… I think we’ll be OK. He has an OT at school, but we don’t hear from her. I could push that, or arrange for outside OT (we already have outside private speech and behavioral therapists). It’s a great suggestion.

      • If he can ride his bike and swim and enjoys being outside and hiking, is he really behind his peers? Is the issue really physical or is it social/executive functioning (understanding rules and interactions and non-verbal cures?) And what’s the goal? If your goal is physical fitness and developing coordination, then individual activities would be fine, as the first commenter pointed out. If you want him to have the chance to socialize with his peers, then I bet computer camp would be a better choice than team sports…lots of kids hate team sports. Trust yourself.

        Sounds like a conversation with the school OT might be helpful. I certainly didn’t mean to add anything else to your list of things to do!

  • Our oldest is also a computer geek and we struggled with the same questions. He is not coordinated and we definitely pushed team sports longer than we should. Now he’s 13 and would rather program or work on his music production than exercise which can be a bit of a struggle. He does like to ride his bike, swim, hike, and run and I honestly wish we had spent more time earlier really investing in these. My advice would be to not waste your time and his on something he doesn’t enjoy and work to enjoy and get better at something that’s actually fun for him.

    • That’s great that he enjoys those “solo” activities- that sounds very much like our boy. I envision that we won’t be spending much time on group sports….Luckily we also love to hike etc. What about Boy Scouts, did you ever try that, or do you think that would have worked at all?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.