Fall is a busy time! With summer over, parents are barraged with back-to-school, homework, and less overall free time. Add in competition season for fall sports and this can be a lot to add on your family’s plate. To make it even more fun, this usually means driving everyone to where they have to be – which is often two or more places at the same time. We’ve said it before, but this is definitely the time of year we wish we really could clone ourselves.
Check out these six tips to help you survive sports this fall.
- Plan ahead- Get organized for what’s coming up, both on your calendar and in your home. Every week, look ahead to see what’s happening, be sure you know where practices and games will be so there’s no last-minute scrambling, and make sure you have a spot for uniforms/gear so you always know where to find them. Double check your schedules before you head to games though, because things can change!
- Get your kids involved- Even if your kids are just starting out in sport (ages 4-6), they can take some responsibility (with support) in getting organized and prepared for sport activities. For example: they always bring their sport bag and hang it up in the same place, that way you can make sure it’s ready. As your kids get older, pass off more of the sport responsibilities like washing uniforms or preparing snacks when it’s your week. Delegating tasks provides an opportunity for learning general life lesson and takes some of the pressure off parents.
- Work with other families- Even if you can drive your kids to and from everything, it might be nice if you don’t have to. Or, at the very least, have a family who can keep an eye on your kids if you’re early or late to things- it takes a team to play sports, and takes a team of families to have a successful season. If you’re new to a team or club, put yourself out there to meet other families- you’ll be spending a lot of time together and it’s nice to look forward to attending because you know the people who will be there.
- Understand there will be meltdowns- It doesn’t matter how old your athlete is: at some point, they will have some sort of emotional explosion. This could be on the field after a heartbreaking loss, at home related to too much homework, or in the car on the way to practice with an emotional, “I want to quit!!” Understand that your young athlete (yes, even the teenagers), are taking on a lot. Not just as an athlete, but as a student, a friend, and a son or daughter. They have a lot on their plates at all times and a variety of expectations placed on them. Meltdowns are normal and you can help your kids get through them with our next tip.
- Teach your kids to manage their emotions- If your children understand that they can breathe to calm down, or use their inner voice to help deal with negativity or worry, then they’ll be better able to handle the stress of sport (and life!), and less likely to end up melting down. Remember that your athletes get a lot of training, but many coaches don’t train their athletes to handle the mental demands (that’s why there are Mental Skills Coaches like me!).
- Use technology to your advantage- With so many moving pieces for sport families, you want to find ways to streamline communication, scheduling, volunteering, and more. PlanHero’s Team Tool allows you to do all of this and includes a chat feature, auto-reminders, and you can use it for all of your kids’ teams! It’s a game-changer to centralize all this information and can lower stress for everyone.
Sport should be fun and not like it’s just survival of the fittest. Whether this is your first or fifteenth fall sport season, you can probably up your game a bit so that everyone has less stress, more fun, and overall, a better fall!