Organized sports teach kids discipline and interpersonal skills while also keeping them active and physically fit. With the upcoming London Olympics beginning to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it only makes sense that your kids will suddenly develop an interest in one sport or another, if they haven’t already.
When parents have several children all involved in different activities (or even one really busy little one), your summer can become more stressful than fun if they aren’t properly organized. Jacqui Hollywood Brown, the president of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC), has five tips to keep your summer sports schedules stress-free and fun for all.
Scheduling: “Use a calendar to plan practices and competitions,” Jacqui suggests. “It will be easy to see conflicts in schedules so you’ll be able to make arrangements such as carpooling with other parents.” In doing so, you’ll be able to plan your time as effectively as possible and ensure that you and your child get to the activity in plenty of time.
Equipment: Jacqui explains that regular equipment inspection is important. “Help your child clean and dry the equipment as soon as possible after the activity or competition.” She even mentions keeping a laminated list (younger athletes can use pictures instead of words) of the equipment needed for each activity attached to their sports bag, so nothing will be forgotten.
Keep records: “Use a three-ring binder of file folder to keep track of wins, losses, and personal bests (highest scores, fastest times) [so] the athlete can see how he or she is progressing,” Jacqui admits. Keeping track of receipts is important for tax-purposes and gathering records of events and courses is vital for an application to a coaching program later in life. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures, either, because the memories will then last forever.
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Use a smart phone: Smarts phones aren’t only for business anymore. Jacqui suggests using your smart phone when you’re out meeting your kid’s teammates’ parents to collect their contact information as to easily connect with everyone when it comes to planning carpools. “If the kids are old enough to use social networking, create a private group that team members (kids AND parents) can join. You can [therefore] share photos and information easily.”
Involve your children: Parents need to remember that organization is skill that needs to be developed, since everyone is different. “Involving your children in the process will allow them to develop a system that will be easy for them to use,” Jacqui admits. “Because they’ve helped create the system they will also be more likely to use it.”
The POC knows that in the summer months, parents struggle to get motivated because of the more relaxed schedule. To get your little Olympian ready for every event this summer, Jacqui, whose favourite Olympic events are the equestrian disciplines, recommends allowing a larger transiting time between relaxed activities and sport practice or competition. “This will give kids a chance to pull away from their fun and change their focus to their activity.”
Whether your little one is aiming to be the next Olympic gold medalist or just playing for fun, keeping these tips and tricks in mind during the upcoming summer months will take the stress out of kids’ sports and make the activity, not the preparation, the focus of everyone’s attention.
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