Joining a team is a childhood rite of passage. There are so many benefits for kids: getting regular exercise, gaining new skills and learning that others are counting on them so they have to show up both physically and mentally. The positives of team sports are overflowing.
In fact, one of the few negatives for kids can come from their parents.
This can be hard to hear, but the good news is that it's easy to fix.
When I was a classroom teacher, I quickly learned how very much parents want their kids to do well, to succeed and even to "win" at academics. And as a mom I’ve found that the same is true for sports.
There were three key messages I gave to parents in my classroom, and I try to carry them with me onto the field.
Remember that this is their game to choose to play, to succeed at and even to fail at. You can’t play it for them, nor should you try to.
While nothing is ever perfect, practicing new skills always helps. Make time for your kids to practice what they’re learning with their team. Even if they’re playing a sport that you don’t know well, let them tell you how it’s done. The more comfortable they are with their game, the more confident they’ll be and the better they’ll play. If you notice there’s a skill they need help with, encourage them to ask their coach for help or send the coach a private note asking for help.
This tends to be the hardest one for parents. Let the coach teach. Even if you disagree with her, know better or are better, unless you signed up to coach, that’s not your job. Your kids are looking to you to be their cheerleader so pass the snacks, give them a high five and retrieve the forgotten helmet. But don’t yell directions from the field. It’s poor form, unnecessary and sends the wrong message to your kids.
Up until a certain age, kids will look at you when it’s their turn to perform so put away your phone, bite back the directions and clap. That’s your role as a sports mom.
Do your kids play sports? How are you a good team mom?
I’m so happy to partner with Mott’s to support moms in being good team parents. On sports nights, I always pack a snack for my kids and sometimes for their entire team! I love fresh snacks like watermelon slices, high-energy treats like granola bars and easy-to-pack, kid-approved juice drinks that I can feel good about serving because they have 40 percent less sugar than fruit juices and no artificial sweeteners. My kids’ and my favorites are Mott's Fruit Punch Rush and Mott's Wild Grape Surge in 8-ounce six-packs.
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