Spring break is next week for many of the public and private schools around the country, and while many of us parents still have to work, our kids will be home with a lot of free time.
Most kids who are playing youth sports will still have practice, even if it’s optional, but they’re held in the evening since volunteer coaches have to work during the day.
So, the question is: How should your kids spend their daytime hours leading up to practice?
The answer many of us parents want to provide is: Spend the bonus spring break hours getting some extra time in practicing the skills of the sport you’re currently playing.
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The answer should be: Spend the time doing whatever you want, within the household rules, of course.
After all, it is their spring break.
Those household rules might include a limit on electronics and TV, certain daylight hours when the kids must be outside, and yes, unfortunately for some, time spent on homework or school projects. The other rule in our house is that if the team is practicing, even if it’s optional, if we’re in town, you’re going.
But beyond that, if your football player wants to go for a bike ride with friends instead of taking extra punting practice in the backyard, so be it. The same goes for any other skill involved in whatever sport they might be playing.
In our house, we limit the amount of energy expended in the few hours leading up to practice because there’s nothing more frustrating for a coach than to have a team full of tired players before practice even begins. It’s hard to accomplish anything when that happens.
So, as you approach spring break, start thinking about how your children will spend those daytime hours that often lead into late afternoon or evening practices.
Remember, the best sign of a good spring break for any youth sports player is one when, at the end of it, they feel like they actually had a break.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years, originally as a coach and board member with his now-adult son and most recently "just as a dad" with his 8- and 10-year-old sons. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.