I was beyond excited when my daughter was finally old enough to join an organized sport. The thought of carrying lawn chairs, picking out cleats, and reminiscing on my glory days made me happy. But I quickly realized that as she continues to get older, the dynamic of organized sports changes.
It’s no longer about showing up 30 minutes before a game to practice. It becomes more of a commitment. A level of commitment that isn’t just for the athlete, but for the parents as well.
My Commitment Backstory
My daughter has been involved in sports since she was in kindergarten. But it wasn’t until she was in the second grade when her coaches started setting actual practice times and days. To me that was exciting because it meant she would start learning the fundamentals. That’s when things became real about my commitment to her sports. I quickly realized that my involvement as parent meant more than just signing her up and going to games. It meant that I needed to commit myself to the practice schedules, games, and volunteering.
The commitment to youth sports doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some tips that have helped me over the past couple of years.
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of signing up your children in different sports or activities. Make a list. Write down what you think your child would be interested in, but remember to involve your child in this process. Signing up for too many things can cause commitment issues. The last thing you want to do is over-commit your child or yourself and feel burned out. That’s why it’s important to choose activities that work for you.
Time and Money
Remember to assess your schedule. Ask yourself if your work schedule and your child’s schedule will work with practices and games. Along with time commitment comes the money commitment. Many youth sports cost a good amount of money. When parents decide to miss practices or games, remember that you paid money to have your children involved. When you miss practices or games consistently it’s like throwing your money out the window and watching it fly away.
Planning for the Future
When you commit yourself as a parent to your child’s activities it shows your love and investment. It shows the commitment you’ve made to teaching them about hard work. It also allows them to understand what commitment is and the importance of staying consistent.
As a parent we always want what’s best for our children, but be honest with yourself. If you really feel that it’s a commitment that you can’t fulfill, that’s okay. When your honest about your time it doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It means you do care. Being involved in youth sports or any type of activities takes time, commitment, and support.
Lastly, remember the most important rule: let the kids have fun.
Sometimes as parents we get so wrapped in the moment that we forget it’s about letting the children have fun. Unless your child is on the fast track of being drafted into the NBA tomorrow, it’s okay for children to make mistakes. This is the time for them to build, learn and grow. So, sit back and watch your children enjoy themselves.