It is common wisdom that both boys and girls
benefit from playing organized sports in a variety of ways, including socially. But do
parents also benefit from their involvement? Does the time and money
parents spend going to their kids' practices and games benefit them
socially? Do they feel it is worth all the effort? According to a study by researchers at Purdue University reported in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, the answer seems to be a qualified yes.
Too often these days, parents feel they have no choice but to pack their child's schedules with adult-supervised, adult-driven activities such as organized sports, even in the summer, when kids have the most free time. But, as a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) makes clear, such activities should not come at the expense of free and unstructured play, which is critical to healthy child development.
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 parent to make certain that your kids don't over-schedule and establish the right priorities.
Youth sports parents, especially moms, seem to have a hard time
summoning up the courage to say no to their kids when it comes to
more sports. The fact is that sometimes the best thing a parent can do for a
child is nothing.
Do you think life is too hectic, too crazy? Don't just shrug your shoulders and chalk it up to life in the 21st century. Being competitive shouldn't be what being a mother is about; moms need to avoid getting sucked into unhealthy peer pressure with other moms to push their kids into more and more activities.
Parents are under increasing pressure these days to help their kids succeed and to keep up with other parents (It is ironic that parents worry about the effect of peer pressure on their kids but fail to appreciate the effect peer pressure is having on them). We have become a nation of "helicopter" parents, hovering over our kids, trying to "enrich" every second of their lives with activities and feeling guilty if we don't. But finding a balance between sports and family life is vitally important.
With the spring sports season in full swing, it is important for parents to remember that, no matter how talented your child may be, there are going to be days when she doesn't play her best or when, despite her best effort, her team loses. How you manage both the ups and the inevitable downs will play a large role in whether your child has a successful youth sports experience.
I am often asked by parents how to decide when a child is ready to play sports? What sports should she play? When is too early? When is too late? What should a parent's expectations be starting out? While there are no pat answers to these questions and no hard-and-fast rules, here is some general advice.
A recent study found that a majority of kids wear shoes that are too small, which put them at risk for developing serious foot deformities, such as bunions. Here are some tips on buying athletic shoes for your child that fit!