Parents Helping Parents

By Jon Buzby | Posted 1/25/2019

It’s not unusual for both our boys to have practices at the same time on the same night. But what doesn’t happen often is when my work schedule conflicts with them and all of a sudden, my wife becomes a single parent of two for the night.

Fortunately, when parents get involved in youth sports, they realize there will be times when they’ll be asked to take along an extra player. It’s often payback for having pawned off their own child to a willing family at some point. That cooperation is what makes youth sports thrive.

For a practice or game that is local, it is a simple ask. However, it’s a different situation when the ask involves a day-long commitment or, in some cases, an overnight stay.

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Here are some things to keep in mind:

—  Try asking a parent who is going with just one child. In this case, there isn’t the added responsibility of supervising non-playing siblings, who are often younger and require a lot of attention.

—  Make sure to offer a portion of the payment for travel expenses including gas, tolls and the hotel room. It’s still cheaper than if you were driving.

—  Send enough money for your child’s meals. I always treated the family by hosting my son to dinner on one of the nights. Nothing says thanks like a free meal.

— Send the proper health insurance information in case a hospital visit is necessary. Hopefully it won’t be needed, but you never know.

— Touch base frequently with the parent in charge, just in case you need to know something your own child isn’t willing to share.

— Reiterate to your child the importance of near-perfect behavior. Remind them that if there are any issues, the next time you can’t attend a tournament, they won’t either.

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Lastly, remember that there is nothing wrong with your child missing a multi-day tournament if you can’t attend and other arrangements aren’t available. Sometimes work or other family activities must be the priority. It’s just one of life’s lessons, and after all, isn’t that what we are trying to teach through youth sports?

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. 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 and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.