Photo credit: Ben Hershey
It has been said that parenting is the hardest job you will ever love. Our children have a very busy schedule. They have a heavy academic load in school. They do 6 to 10 hours of homework per week. They have after school activities, and if they are in sports, karate, or dance, they have a physical demand on their bodies. It is safe to say that our kids have a fuller calendar than most of us.
As a parent, it falls on your shoulders to guide them and to monitor them. You are the one who has to teach them to prioritize. The parent that makes a blanket statement to their child that if grades drop sports are gone, is not seeing the entire picture.
Your youngster does not know how to pace himself or to recognize when he is overdoing it. A child deals with the situation that is in front of him. The threat of being removed from the team he loves and letting down his friends is overwhelming. Without the tools to manage his time, he feels defeated before he begins.
Of course, a child’s grades are the priority. The child may not agree yet, but one day they will see. Open a line of communication with his teacher. Ask her to email or text you if your child begins to get behind. This will allow you to address the issue before it becomes a problem.
Give him the tools he needs
Explain to his teachers, his counselors. Let them know you are allowing your child to branch out and participate in a sport. As a team you will be more effective. If your child has a particular subject that he struggles with, consider getting him a tutor a day or two per week.
The point is, you are helping him keep his grades up and playing on the team. Don’t make him afraid to come to you with an academic problem. Don’t make him feel like he is doing this on his own.
Photo credit: Ben White
Tips for helping your child
- Have a calendar (online calendar works fine) teach your child how to check the calendar so he will not miss any dates. Help him keep the calendar up to date. Put class projects, sports games, trips, and appointments on the calendar. This will show him how to pace himself and not try to do too much in a day. If a game falls on a test day. Help him study in advance. On the day before the test, review the study notes.
- Do not force him into an uncomfortable and ineffective position. We tend to think our child is just a small version of ourselves. But, this is not true. You may need absolute silence to focus and work. But, your child may do better with some background noise. Playing soft music or run a fan. Another idea is a sound of nature machine that plays the sound of a gentle rain. Work this out together and find what works best for your child.
Photo credit: Rawpixel
When a child masters a technique that works and he uses it to balance his life, he should be given high praise. You could take him on a nature hike. Maybe you can make treat bags to hand out to his team. You can order a variety of sugar-free bulk candy from SweetServices.com. If you are concerned, they can be sugar-free and allergy-friendly.
In the world of sports, you have an obligation to the other members of the team. It is important to understand that it is not just your child. There is a whole group of children depending on each other.
Do not take his responsibility to the team lightly. A child that doesn’t learn to respect his obligations to others grows up to be an adult that has a “me first” attitude. We all know people like that, and no one wants their child to become that person.
Photo credit: Goh Rhy Yan
While this article recommends support, understanding, and finding teachable moments, a parent must proceed with caution. You must be careful not to do the work for him. You cannot check his calendar every day and remind him about events. Instead remind him verbally and over time remind him less and less until he has assumed the responsibility.
If you are unsure that your child can carry the load, try a summer sport while school is out. Let him see how much effort goes into practice, games, and trips. This will give you and him an idea of how much physical exercise he can handle and maintain his normal life. If he cannot play sports and keep him room clean, how can he play sports and keep up in the classroom come fall? Eventually, he will be able to do everything he wants to do. With your help, you child can balance school and sports. It may be a bit of a challenge, but he can do it and so can you.