Balancing Youth Sports and Family Life
5. Allow for a social life outside of sports. Being on a travel or select team often requires a year-round or near year-round commitment and extensive travel. If you allow your children to participate, they can end up socially isolated from the family, their peers and the larger community. The athletic role can become so consuming and controlling that their childhood essentially disappears. Early specialization can thus interfere with normal identity development, increasing the risk that a child will develop what psychologists call a one-dimensional self-concept in which they see themselves solely as an athlete instead of just a part of who they are.
6. Coach your child's team on "kid time." Too many parents fall victim to the idea that practices have to happen after an adult's workday is over. This falls during the dinner hour, when children should be spending time with their family. With the new statistics of parents (primarily mothers) working from home, why not get your coaching license and run the practice in the afternoon right after school is over? This will give you time to be with your children and their friends and still be home in time for dinner with the rest of the family.
It is possible to create balance within your family's everyday life, even with children who participate in sports. But it is up to you as the parents to make certain that your kids don't over schedule and that they establish the right priorities.
Brooke de Lench, Youth Sports Parenting Expert and author of Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports, has helped over 42 million moms and dads worldwide get the tools and information they need to make their child's youth sports experience safer, less stressful and more inclusive. For more information on balancing your child's sports life with your family life, go to Momsteam.com and sign up for Brooke's free newsletter.
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