For many families, the new school year brings the additional activity of school sports. Practices, games, and social events don’t have to be a hassle – they’re meant to be fun, and can be if you follow a few easy guidelines!
Schedule: As soon as you get the practice and game schedules, add them to the calendar! As we’ve mentioned before, a family hub or command center that everyone can easily access will allow everyone in the home to see what’s happening at a glance. Adding the sports schedule ASAP will also allow you to gauge how you may need to alter homework, bedtime, and rise time schedules to ensure that your child can be academically successful and well rested.
Everything in Its Place: Many sports come with equipment that follows your child home. To keep this from cluttering your home or garage, designate an area specifically for this equipment and make your child responsible for maintaining it (athletics aren’t cheap, and this is a way they can earn the privilege of playing). You can use a Ball Claw to utilize wall space, laundry bags can be used for equipment storage and placed in a corner or hung from a wall, and a sturdy plastic cabinet can be used for bats, sticks, and other large objects. Last but not least, be sure that your student athlete turns over their dirty practice clothes and uniforms for prompt laundering!
Fuel: Nutrition and appropriate calorie intake are crucial for student athletes. Making sure that your child is eating regular, balanced meals will help them stay healthy and competitive. Be sure that they have snacks that can provide them with energy between lunch and practices or games: almond, vegetables and hummus, banana and peanut butter, cheese, or granola/energy bars are all good options. Also make sure that they drink enough water to avoid dehydration (add a little juice for flavor and to avoid artificial ingredients if they find plain water boring).
Safety: We want to avoid sports injuries at all costs!
- Eye injuries are very common, and about 90% preventable. If eye protection isn’t part of the standard uniform, talk to the coach about what protective eyewear is appropriate for the sport. Polycarbonate material is the most effective type of lens if full face protection (such as a mask) are not practical.
- Concussions and head injuries can be devastating. The CDC offers a free online course that explains concussions and how to recognize them, as well as prevention tips. Talk to the coach about what preventive measures he or she has in place.
- Talk to the coach or a sports doctor about ways to prevent muscle, joint, bone, and tendon/ligament injuries. Student athletes are still growing during this time, increasing the risk of these types of injuries.