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Monday, April 2, 2012

And Miles to Go Before They Are Finished

Last week, my Honda Pilot just turned over the 200,000-mile mark. I wonder how many of those miles have been spent driving my kids to and from extra-curricular activities.

My three children have tried almost every sport and many musical ventures. When you are in the middle of driving them everywhere, it is exhausting, but I do think that having your children in some activities help grow them as people.

Sports, in particular, teach many lessons...
......some days are extremely difficult for them as they have to constantly compare their physical selves to others. Coaches -- we have had our share of bad and good coaches – are a big influence on our little people.

Here are a few things that I have learned…

Don’t Sit During Practices: If you are waiting around during practices, try to find something to do that helps you physically. If you can take a walk, gather some other parents and start walking. Too many parents just sit there watching their kids exercise. Something seems wrong with that.

Do Talk to the Coach: Not to complain about your kid’s position or playing time but to see what they think about what your kid needs to improve upon. If the coach seems offended by this conversation, perhaps you need to change teams or sports for the time being.

Encourage Your Child: When things are not going right, encourage your child to stay with it and practice with them at home. Valuable lessons are learned when things get hard – most of the good parts of life don’t come easy.

Don’t Take It Too Seriously: When your kids are in the younger grades, many parents try to jockey for good position for their own child. Don’t get all wrapped up in that. Try to teach your own child how to do the different skills of the sport, get private lessons if you are serious about a sport, and remember that most of the kids that are doing that sport now will not be there in a couple of years because there is too much demand for their time.

Training Your Child: I recently read that you should teach your young child more about being athletic than specific skills when they are very young. For instance, spend more time teaching jumping, running, quick starts, and other generic athletic skills than how to shoot a basketball.

I am sure you have some extracurricular or sports stories that have either helped you or infuriated you – please share them as a comment!

Anita Oldham
Editor of Today's Family magazine


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