March 11, 2022 5 min read

Heading into spring, many families are getting ready for the sports season to begin. Time to get the kids outside and active. It’s also time to load the car to the gills with all sorts of gear and racing around frantically keeping up with busy schedules, hoping you’re not forgetting something. Try these helpful tips to get through this spring sports season with less stress and more smiles.

1. PREPARATION MUST HAVES

Trunk-sports-equipment-snacks

One of the best ways to relieve stress is a checklist for practice and tournaments. Regardless of the sport involved, the following list will get you off to a good start:
  • Camp chairs and a cooler with extra snacks & waters
  • Trunk organizer (easily portable and keeps things organized)
  • First aid kit and allergy medicines
  • Lip balm, sunscreen and bug spray
  • A roll of toilet paper (just in case!), tissues, hand sanitizer and wet wipes
  • Weather gear (raincoats, umbrellas, etc.) or pack an Under the Weather Pod instead
  • Blankets, towels or extra layers like sweatshirts
  • Garbage bags (great for wet/dirty clothes)
  • Extra shoestrings, duct tape and safety pins, deodorant and shoe deodorizer
  • Portable phone charger
  • Navigation app to get there on time and avoid traffic snarls

2. TOURNAMENT TRAVEL MADE EASY
Scheduling-apps-screen-phone

Going back and forth to games and tournaments takes a little extra prep, especially if your kiddo is on a travel team. Pair the above list with these kid’s sports travel essentials to hit the ball out of the park:
  • Extra cash for parking fees, concessions, and other “only cash” expenses
  • Blankets and pillows for comfy naps and overnights
  • A canopy or a pop-up multi-person Under the Weather Pod
  • Additional towels (having a wet rag in a baggie is always handy)
  • Cooler full of frozen rags (dampen and freeze beforehand to handout in hot weather)
  • Extra pain relievers and first aid supplies
  • Extra resealable baggies in all sizes
  • Laundry kit for overnights to wash uniforms
  • Wire hangers to dry out uniforms on the go
  • Lots of air fresheners for clothing, shoes, and car
  • Slippers for bedtime and flip-flops for community showers
  • Downtime entertainment for the entire family
  • Collapsible wagon (hauls everything and won’t take up space)

3. PLAN FOR THE WEATHER
Scheduling-apps-screen-phone

One of the biggest concerns with kids’ outdoor spring activities is the ever-changing weather. In some regions, spring weather is like a roller coaster, and you never really know what to expect. There’s a stress-free way to be there for every pass, hit, or score instead of running for cover from a passing shower or sudden chill.

Under the Weather Pods pop open in seconds and zip fully closed for instant weather relief and they’re easy to tote, use and fold down too. Very handy for parents on the sidelines and a dry, windproof spot for young athletes to warm-up or take five.
Additional weather-related supplies:
  • Rain jackets and a change of clothing for the athletes
  • Waterproof blankets, light jackets or sweatshirts for layering
  • Garbage bag for wet and muddy clothing
  • Something fun to do if the game is delayed due to rain

4. MASTERING SCHEDULING
Mastering-schedules
(Photo credit: Tara Winstead/Pexels)

Practices and competitions seem to multiply tenfold for every child in sports – it gets overwhelming. Let’s be honest, it’s not always possible for you to do everything and that’s okay. Here are a few options for scheduling to make life simpler and more manageable:
  • Free easy-to-use mobile apps – FamilyApp, SportsEngine, InstaTeam, TeamSnap, Sports Illustrated Play etc. Ask what your kids’ team/coach recommends.
  • Keep it simple. Use a preprinted sports calendar or a downloadable sports schedule template for the fridge so everyone knows what’s happening and when
  • Arrange a carpool. Schedule conflicts happen but you can alleviate some stress and schedule problems by teaming up with other parents.

5. CONSIDER EVERYONE
Parents-cheering-sidelines

With so much focus on getting little athletes ready, other family members can be overlooked – p-s-s-t, this includes you.
  • Recruit siblings or grandparents to help, you’ll keep them busy
  • Plan enough snacks and drinks for everyone in your group (including the dog)
  • Plan on entertainment for kids not participating or for lags in the game
  • Be considerate of others around you. Avoid speaking critically of other children, blocking views, and do keep pets and kids in check (also inquire about allergies before handing out treats)

6. TEAM DINNER
Parents-cheering-sidelines
(Photo credit: Askar Abayev/Pexels)

Make it easy on yourself and treat the kids and other adults to a night out, no matter the game’s outcome. Celebrate the effort. Even better, there’s no dinner to make and no dishes to do. It’s a great way to come together, chillax, and reconnect!

7. VALUE THE COACHES AND SET AN EXAMPLE
Value-coaches
(Photo credit: CottonBro/Pexels)

Almost every coach out there does it for the love of the game and because they enjoy working with kids. Although winning is the goal and a thrilling experience for the team, coaches do their best to give everyone a chance to play while teaching them about the sport and improving skills. Don’t forget your kiddo is looking to you to learn good conduct and sportsmanship. You’re their ultimate role model.
  • Keep it positive. Encourage appreciation and support everyone on the team, win or lose.
  • Express empathy but keep it uplifting and forward-looking
  • Thank coaches for their talents and for building your child’s self-esteem
  • Teach your kids to thank coaches after each practice and game
  • Pay attention, it means the world to your kids to know you saw them succeed and weren’t looking at your phone
  • Cement your standing as a positive parent by cheering and not booing or playing “couch coach”

8. COMMUNICATE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER
Talk-connect-kid-mom

Keeping open dialogues with your children will relieve a lot of stress for everyone in the family. And sports offer a fantastic way to start those conversations. They can also lead to deeper and more bonding conversations.
  • Encourage your kids to talk about how they feel about the sport they play, what they like and what they don’t like
  • Talk about how to play better or how to be more of a team player and support peers
  • Praise your child for doing something positive so they’ll feel good about their position on the team, about sports, and about communicating in general

9. PLAY AT HOME
Play-at-home-dad-kid-baseball

You don’t have to be a pro or spend hours teaching your little one the finer aspects of their favorite sports. Helping them practice at home, watching games together, and being active as a family goes a long way toward fostering a lifetime love of fitness and sports. Even better, let them teach you about their sport to fuel their self-esteem, confidence and remind everyone that it’s supposed to be fun.

Approach the sports season with a stress-free state of mind and embrace the moment. The more your kids see you enjoying the experience, the more they’ll enjoy it.


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