Practice. Game. Repeat.
It’s the norm for many of us, a process that can happen multiple times a week with different sports and active children.
Do you ever wonder if it’s simply too much for your family?
Sports are a great way for kids to feel what it’s like to be part of a team.
The idea is to have fun, to learn new skills and gain experience. Along the way, kids also figure out teamwork and how to help one another. Eventually, they begin to put the needs of the team (and their teammates) ahead of their own.
We as parents and coaches feel the excitement, happiness and relief when the kids come together, overcome hurdles and yes, even win.
Here’s the catch.
We need to remember winning doesn’t always connect to the final score. For your child, a win could be the volleyball serve that finally goes over the net, a basket, a great assist, a solid tackle or even a moment spent congratulating a teammate. We know this, we really do. But sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the competition and push too hard.
Kids are usually good at telling us when this is happening. They won’t typically come out and say, “You expect too much. You’re pushing too hard.”
Instead, they will start to push back in less obvious ways. They don’t want to go to practice or will even suggest skipping games. They may hesitate to participate in the sport or stop interacting with their teammates.
The anxiety can lead to sleep issues.
Kids may act like they need more sleep or they could experience the opposite effect and have trouble sleeping. If the situation worsens, the impact will become more physical – stomach aches, headaches and other unexplained pain that strike as practice or game time approach. The pain is very real – the child feels it – but the cause isn’t an injury. It’s the result of too much, too fast either in expectation or in the amount of time spent
competing. It doesn’t matter if it’s one sport or five.
Working hard and trying your best are good lessons, ones that sports can help us teach.
Some kids need a little boost, encouragement to finish that lap or focus on the task at hand. Others will push themselves, sometimes too far.
It comes down to communication, to understanding our kids and remembering to listen.
Not every child is going to be a sports star. For most of us, that’s not what it’s all about. So let’s try to add a simple, “Have fun!” the next time we send the kids off to practice or into the game.
Dr. Kody Moffatt with the Sports Medicine Clinic at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center wrote this guest blog for momaha.com. In the next Parenting U session, Dr. Kody Moffatt will offer parents tips and techniques to help prevent concussions and injuries from happening on the playing field.
* * *
Join us at 6 p.m. Tuesday for a live chat on momaha.com with Dr. Kody Moffatt with the Sports Medicine Clinic at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.
If you can’t make the live session, you can view the webinar by clicking here.
REPLAY THE LIVE CHAT: Click the grey box to replay the live chat discussion.
* * *
Another Parenting U topic and date:
6 p.m., Oct. 15: Effective Timeout Techniques by Ashley Harlow of Children’s Behavioral Health
To learn more about the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s Parenting U live sessions, chats and webinars visit childrensomaha.org/Parentingu or call 800-833-3100.
* * *