18 things to remember if you have a child in youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 5/15/2017

It’s easy for parents to punish themselves with thoughts of regret. It seems there is always something we could have or should have done differently.

Here are 18 ways you can avoid youth sports regrets.

1. Tell your children you are proud of them, win or lose. Do this before they play, after they play and when it has nothing to do with sports.

2. Play with them, even when you’re tired or have “important” things to do.

3. Teach them to respect coaches and teammates. It will set them apart as influencers.

4. Encourage them to try new things — a sport, new musical instrument, or new hobby.

5. Volunteer to help your child’s team and coach. If each parent helps in even a small way, the work will all get done.  

6. Listen to them, even if they are just jabbering on about something that doesn’t interest you or even make sense. If you listen while they are little, maybe they will keep talking as they grow up!

7. Celebrate small victories. They are in every game.

8. Be a friend to new or lonely parents. This models compassion for your child.

9. Save the newspaper clippings, awards and other memorabilia.

10. Let them fight their own battles for playing time or position. They become stronger as they earn it on their own without your assistance.

11. Don’t nag them to perform. Instead, motivate by encouraging.

12. Don't take it personally when they clam up after a game. Give them space and wait until they are ready to talk.

13. Tell your children that points and awards are fun, but they are not the most important thing; teamwork and good character are.

14. Don’t let your child rush back to play after an injury. Let the doctor decide if your child is ready.

15. Don’t worry about sleep. Of course you must get rest, but neglecting it periodically to spend time with your child is worth it. You will never get these days and nights back.

16. Support the coach, even if you don’t agree with everything that coach does.

17. Keep your mouth shout when you want to “push” your child to play better. Sometimes nagging or pushing only pushes them away.

18. See the bigger picture of sports. If you can, youth sports can be a positive force in shaping the character of your child.

Janis B. Meredith is a sportsparenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.