This post is sponsored by TeamSnap, a company that does its very best to make back-to-school sports as easy as possible by providing the best tools to help teams and parents run their organizations and balance schedules smoothly.
It’s that time of year again! Kids are coming home with backpacks full of homework and fliers about upcoming school events, and when your child is playing sports, it gets even more overwhelming. Has the full force of the fall season slammed you in the face yet?
How can parents and young athletes maintain a balance that will allow them to enjoy sports without hurting their academics? Is it possible to give a 100% effort for both, and not have either one suffer?
Remember S.P.O.R.T. and you will have a plan for finding the school/sports balance this fall.
Start by making an assessment of all the activities you and your child have planned for the fall, working as far ahead as you can. If you only know what the first month holds, you can come back and fill in the rest of the calendar later. As you put them on the calendar, scrutinize them to see if there are any that, while they may be fun or somewhat important, really are not necessary. Once you’ve weeded them out–this is hard for a person who has struggles to say no, but it is a must for your family’s sanity–move on to step 2: Prioritize.
It’s important to plan your week and not let your week plan you. If there are conflicts on the calendar, decide right now which one must come first so your child knows ahead of time. If there are no scheduling conflicts, then prioritize the things that must be done. When are projects due? Tests? Tryouts? Practices and games?
Each day, your child should look at the calendar and ask himself, What must I get done today? What must I get done by week’s end? Those priorities will help him make better use of his time.
Please remember that priorities are not always work. Sometimes family time or play time or down time is a must. Be sure to allow space for those as well.
A couple more tips for prioritizing:
- Help your child use weekends wisely. Talk to them about preparing for the week ahead and encourage them to get a head start on work for the upcoming week and to prepare for bigger projects that are coming.
- Don’t let your child procrastinate. Waiting until the last minute to get a paper written usually results in a less-than-best completed assignment. Avoid the last-minute Sunday night cramming.
- Make good use of car/bus time. Have your child review, read, study or have you quiz her in the car.
Stay on top of your child’s grades so you can be sure his schoolwork isn’t suffering because he is stretched too thin. If his grades are slipping, it may be time to re-prioritize his activities.
When life feels too rushed, it may be time for your child to cut out activities. Maybe he can’t make it to the birthday party, but it’s good for him to learn that it’s okay not to do everything.
Unorganization costs your kids very valuable time. How often do they spend time looking for uniforms, shoes, homework, or backpacks? Add it all up throughout the week and it
- Get organized and stay organized. Use a big desk calendar for school and sports. Write down all due dates for schoolwork, projects, and papers. Write down all sports practices and games. Every week revisit your calendar and make corrections.
- Manage your time. With competing demands placed on your time, you must plan your known time schedule. Known times are school time, game and practice time, and travel time to and from school, as well as travel time to and from sports practices and events. By blocking this known time on your calendar, you can determine your actual homework time and study time.
- Plan your week; don’t let your week plan you. Look at your calendar and note when you have projects due, tests scheduled, and practices and games scheduled. Plan how you will study and when you will study.
It’s important that you recognize your child’s need to just be a kid. If she has no free time, no down time, and not much friend time, then the sports/school balance has gone out of whack. When that happens, the result is usually not good. When kids are under too much pressure, they may lose site of their joy that sports and school can bring.
I love the story of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. They were home school and kept out of international juniors tournaments by their parents. Not surprisingly, their parents were criticized for this. Surely it would hurt their tennis career! Obviously, we know the ending to that story.
On the other hand, tennis star Jennifer Capriati started playing tennis when she was 3. Her family moved to Florida when she was 4 so she could play tennis year round. When she was four! At age 13, she was pushed by her father into professional competition. Jennifer suffered through drug addiction and had several scrapes with the law. Her tennis career ended way too soon.
Please recognize that your kids needs to be kids.
One meaning of the word temporize is to temporarily adopt a particular course in order to conform to the circumstances. In other words, be flexible. Learning to adapt to circumstances is an extremely valuable life skill. Whether it’s a last minute homework assignment given by a teacher or an unscheduled practice announced by the coach, the ability to flex and not get uptight will keep your child from feeling stressed.
Kids learn a lot about flexibility from their parents, so temporizing must start with you. Do you fly off the handle when things come up on the spur of the moment? Are you irritated when practice goes longer than scheduled?
Show your child that temporizing will help them deal with change much better. Rigidity or not flexing with circumstances will only make you and your child uptight, and as a result, not so fun to be around.
A stable child is one who has a strong foundation, who knows she is loved and accepted no matter what.
You can stabilize your child by making your home a safe place, free from judgement and harsh criticism.
You can stabilize your child by giving her a moral compass to guide her.
You can stabilize your child by taking time to bond as a family. If evenings are busy, look for time on the weekends or even in the mornings before school. School and sports should not eradicate family time.
A stabilized child is a confident child and a confident child is one who can better handle the challenges of balancing sports and school.
There you have it. A simple way to remember how to balance sports and school: S.P.O.R.T.S. And a reminder to control your commitments to school and sports, instead of letting them control you.
This post is sponsored by TeamSnap, who wants to help you focus on making your child’s youth sports experience a positive one. Their online team management makes your sports parenting job a lot easier as you strive to keep a school/sports balance.