There’s no disputing the value of children participating in organized sports. Sports help teach kids about physical fitness, develop important social and interpersonal skills, and teach them the value of hard work and persistence. And, with this summer showcasing the 2012 Olympics in London, there’s sure to be an increased interest in sports.
Whether it’s soccer, baseball, kayaking, basketball, track & field or any of a multitude of other summer sports, keeping kids active can be as simple as heading to the local park or sports field. But when you have several children at home training in multiple organized sports, managing schedules as well as all the sporting equipment, the ‘summer of sport’ suddenly becomes more demanding than relaxing.
Fortunately, parents can implement a few simple tips to take the stress out of kids’ sports and bring enjoyment for all involved. Getting ‘little athletes’ to and from sporting activities can seem like an Olympic event for many parents.
Scheduling practices and competitions, and maintaining equipment can be made easier with these organizing tips:
Scheduling - Use a calendar to plan practices and competitions. It will be easy to see conflicts in schedules so you'll be able to make arrangements, such as carpooling with other parents. If you're traveling to a competition, you can easily see if there is time to take a vacation day before or after the event. Reduce pre-competition nerves in young athletes by arriving in plenty of time before the competition to allow the athlete to relax and adjust to their surroundings.
Equipment - Most sports need equipment and much of it is designed to keep the athlete safe. From helmets to shin pads, it all needs to fit properly and remain in good condition. Because little athletes grow fast and play hard, regular equipment inspection is important. Help your child clean and dry the equipment as soon as possible after the activity or competition. Store it in one specific area so it is ready to go the next time. Keep a laminated list of all the equipment your athlete needs attached to the sports bag. For younger athletes, use pictures with the words to remind them of everything they need. Remember to add a water bottle and a snack to the list!
Keep records - Use a three-ring binder or file folders to keep track of wins, losses and personal bests (highest scores, fastest times). The athlete can see how he or she is progressing. Keep receipts and records of courses and events attended as proof of training. This may be required in order to apply to a coaching program later on. Parents might be able to claim a portion of training fees on their income taxes, so keep all receipts of payments. Most importantly, keep photographs as a memory of all the good times.
Whether your little athlete is aiming for an Olympic Gold Medal or just shooting hoops with a few friends, by staying organized, you'll reduce stress and keep sports enjoyable and fun!
Representing more than 500 Professional Organizers in more than 14 chapters nationwide, POC’s mandate is to provide a supportive environment for members to learn, share ideas, network and exchange resources. To find a Professional Organizer, visit www.organizersincanada.com.
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