Clashes between family priorities and youth sports are inevitable. It is a tug-of-war that causes conflict in many homes and on many teams.
Things crop up: dentist appointments, family vacations, family emergencies. And sometimes it’s just the conflict of a double-booked calendar forcing parents to choose what gets the boot: youth sports or the event?
It’s that time of year again when baseball is ruling many households. Whether it’s school ball, travel ball or city ball, if your child plays baseball, it has a way of taking over a family’s calendar. What will you do to maintain some sanity in your family’s schedule?
What’s the best way to handle the family priorities vs. youth sports battle? Perhaps these suggestions will help you find the balance.
Establish Your Family Priorities
Sit down as a family and talk about your core values, or priorities. For instance, ours would be: God, family, work, hobbies, everything else. Get your kids’ input as you make the list and talk about what that list means. Explain to your kids that all decisions you as parents make and all choices made for the family will be made through the filter of this family priority list. Post the list somewhere where everyone can easily be reminded of your home’s core values.
“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life, ” says speaker and writer David F. Jakelo. Figure out what is most important in your home.
Know and Agree to the Team Rules
Be sure that you know your team’s policy (including consequences) about missing practices and games, and tardiness to practices and games. Agree as a family that you understand the rules and will agree to abide by them. If you cannot, you will agree to the consequences. If your child’s coach has not posted them anywhere, ask him.
Accept the Consequences
Since you already know the team’s policy about absence or tardiness, when your child does miss or is late, accept the consequences of that behavior without fighting about it. You knew the rules, you agreed to follow them. If you don’t think it’s fair, then perhaps switch teams when the season is over. I know that sounds rather harsh, but if all parents insist on breaking and bending the rules for their kids, it only hurts the team.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take your child out to attend a cousin’s wedding or take that family vacation to Disney for the weekend. It simply means that you understand and accept the consequences of missing practices or games.
When it’s at all possible, plan non-emergency appointments, like dentist or eye doctor, around the team’s schedule. I say this mainly as a consideration for the team. As a coach’s wife, I know that when team members are absent from practices or games, the team suffers. You may think, it’s just practice, but there’s no “just practice” about it. Practice is important and kids need to be there on time. Teams cannot hope to improve and work together if members consistently miss and show up late. When a team member is not there, it affect the team as a whole.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
On those occasions when your child must miss, the most important thing you can do is to communicate to the coach, giving him or her plenty of time to adjust his game plan, especially if your child is missing a game. Communicating with your child’s coach shows consideration for his time and sacrifice and for the team.
This is an instance where a tool like TeamSnap‘s Player Availability Page is a great help to coaches and parents track players and their attendance. This feature of TeamSnap, an online team management website, allows parents to indicate their child’s availability so coaches see who can attend games and events and who can’t, track attendance, count the total number of players per game, and plan for player substitutions.
Sometimes balancing family life and youth sports is a juggling act. But when you establish your priorities, know the policies, accept consequences, plan ahead, and communicate, you just might figure out how to avoid the battles.
Because of the great response we had last week, TeamSnap and JBM Thinks SportsParenting have decided to give away these two prizes to 3 people each week! Yes, I said 3!!
This week and for the next 3 weeks, TeamSnap ( The easiest way to manage your team online) and JBM Thinks SportsParenting will be giving away two free prizes to three people!
- TeamSnap will be giving away an Ultra-Plan worth $15.99 per month
- I will be giving away an ebook from my Sports Parenting Survival Guide series (you choose basketball, football, softball, volleybal or my new one: Coach’s Wife Survival Guide!l)
To enter to win these two prizes, do one of the following:
- leave a comment on this post
- leave a comment about the giveaway on TeamSnap’s Facebook page
- leave a comment about the giveaway on Sportsparenting’s Facebook page
The winner will be notified at the end of the week! Leave your comment now!
Don’t waste another minute! The next season of youth sports is upon you.
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