Fall will be here sooner than you realize, and with the change of season comes the start of a new school year. Plenty of kids will be starting off their school year by signing up for a team sport like soccer, cheer-leading, or football, whether they’re just getting into it for the first time or if they’ve been playing competitively for years. As fun as athletics can be for kids, they can sometimes cause stress for an unprepared parent. In fact, the more we learn about traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and sports, the more parents grow fearful of youth sports.
And while contact sports are never without their risks, the rewards far outweigh the potential harm. Countless studies have shown that youth sports benefit kids in so many ways. Physically, they ensure kids get the recommended amount of exercise, develop strong motor skills, and develop along with their peers. Mentally, sports can help children learn social skills, discipline, and commitment.
So if you’re gearing up for back-to-school sports season, then it’s time to get the family ready for the field, court, gym, track, and/or pool. With the right tips, tricks, and info, you’ll be as much of a pro as your child is on the team.
Get The Right Gear
Before you take your child to their first practice or tryout, you’ll want to stock up on all the right gear and equipment to keep them safe. Childhood sports injuries can be just as serious as injuries in more advanced leagues, but simple safety equipment can spare your child from injuries. The AAPD notes that 10 to 39% of dental injuries in children are caused by sports, particularly chipped and broken teeth. The right safety equipment keeps your child safe as they’re starting up for the season. For contact sports, safety equipment will usually include mouth guards and padding, such as shin guards, helmets, or knee pads.
Worried about the price of new equipment? There are plenty of options to get the right gear at an affordable price. Look for local businesses and smaller shops in particular. There are nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S., and many of them offer better deals on equipment at the start of back-to-school season. In addition, check to see if your school offers second-hand equipment at no cost.
Connect With Other Team Parents
Plenty of parents are just as nervous about starting the back-to-school sports season as their children are when it comes to meeting new people. To get ready to interact with the rest of the team, take to social media and connect with other parents. Use sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more to share info and ask questions about practices and other team matters. As many as 1 billion people use Instagram every month, so there’s a strong chance you’ll see plenty of other team parents online this way. You can even use social media to help coordinate and plan practices. And, hey, if you embarrass your kids with your enthusiastic Instagram posting, that’s just an added bonus!
Help Them Practice (Within Reason)
As much as is possible, try to get involved actively with your child’s sport. Showing your interest by giving your child someone to practice with at home provides extra encouragement and motivation to improve. It also can be a great way for you to keep in shape, even if you’re playing the sport for fun. Playing tennis for fun, for example, can burn around 169 calories in 30 minutes for a woman, and 208 calories in 30 minutes for an average man. This can help you stick to your own personal workout routine while continuing to encourage your child’s athletic interests. In some cases, children may benefit from one-on-one instruction outside of regular team practices. Of course, that can also put too much pressure on kids who are just trying to have fun with their friends. It’s a fine line to walk, but be supportive without being overbearing. At the end of the day, youth sports should be more fun than sorrow.
Ultimately, the key to a successful back-to-school sports season boils down to proper planning. From purchasing the right gear to making it to tryouts to connecting with other families, you’ll be better prepared for the season when you coordinate and know what to expect. Don’t forget the important parts of getting your child signed up for their favorite sport, including routine physicals. That being said, planning will extend well into the athletics season itself. School sports have another factor to consider; school itself. Don’t accidentally prioritize athletics above academics, and be sure to schedule time for homework and studying, too.
What If Your Child Doesn’t Make The Team
If your son or daughter goes out for a competitive sport like soccer or basketball, there’s always the chance they won’t make the team. While your instincts may tell you to get involved to correct this obvious injustice, that would be a mistake. Ultimately, your kids will have to learn how to deal with this disappointment on their own. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do nothing. Encourage your kids to go out for another sport like track or cross country. This can allow them to develop their athletic skills, get involved with their peers, and prepare for future tryouts. They may even find they like the new sport better than the one they originally tried out for!
School will be underway before you know it if it isn’t already, and parents everywhere are now signing up their children for their favorite sports. These tips can help you stay on top of the process and allow your child to get the most out of their hobby. What tips would you give to first-time team moms just signing their kid up for the first time?