How your athlete can excel in both sports, academics

By Janis Meredith | Posted 10/17/2018

Balancing sports and academics can be difficult for your young athlete. If your child finds it hard to manage their time when they are playing sports, here are a few tips to help them stay on track:

Teach your child to schedule their time

Whether on their phone or in a planner, have your child keep track of important due dates for class homework and projects. Plug into that calendar games and practices and then have them check it at the beginning of each week to plan ahead. For instance, if they practiced every day after school and have a test on Friday, encourage them to start studying a little bit each night instead of cramming it all in on Thursday evening.

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Hold your kids accountable

Many schools have online programs where parents can check their child’s grades and work. I used to check it weekly to see how things were going and often asked questions about missing assignments or low grades. Eventually, my kids started checking it themselves without me having to. Just knowing I was keeping them accountable kept them on top of things. If your school doesn’t do that, then make it your business to check in with the teacher every now and then to see how your child is doing. Don’t assume that no news is good news.

Use sports as an incentive

Instead of seeing sports as the enemy of your child’s academics, use it as an incentive to work hard in the classroom. Of course, if your child does not meet the school’s grade policy for playing sports, they will suffer the consequences. You can be content with that, or you can set your own standard. If they cannot keep their grades up this spring, they shouldn’t play sports next fall.

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Reward good grades

Whether it’s for a good grade on a test or a good report card, rewards help your child stay motivated to work hard and feel good about their accomplishment. We tried different motivations, from paying for A’s and B’s on a report card to a spontaneous shopping trip or dinner out for an aced test. Keep your kids guessing.

School athletics can actually help your child excel in the classroom

Statistics show students participating in team sports are more likely to have higher grade point averages. Students involved in sports seem to have a more positive attitude toward school and in many cases, are higher achievers.

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If you feel your child’s athletic participating is hurting their academic performance, it’s important to teach them to start planning more efficiently. Sports should help your child’s education, not hurt it.

Janis B. Meredith is a parenting coach. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents Raise Champions.