At some point this summer, my guess is your family will have an entire week at home with no youth sports commitments of any kind. It won’t be an official vacation, but rather a break from the hustle and bustle that comes along with dropping kids off at camps, driving to practices and hustling to get to games on time.
Try to keep it that way because your kids need a break, and you probably do as well.
During that week, make every effort to eat dinner as a family, but at the table, not in your lap. And then after dinner, do something together as a family. You might go hang out at a playground or a park, or maybe take a bike ride together. Just try to make sure everyone is involved and it’s not a competitive game in the backyard.
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Try to do something special for the sibling who spent the entire spring at the local field watching their brother or sister play. It might be as simple as letting them decide what the nightly family activity will be one night.
Some parents will have their kid on the gridiron catching passes within 24 hours of the last game of the season, on the tennis courts returning serves, or at the batting cages banging balls.
Sure, those parents will say the child wanted to go, but that’ll rather be preferred over the alternate choice of doing summer reading assignments or chores. Even if the player does want to go, sometimes as parents we must make the decision as to when our kids need a break.
I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t pick up a football, bat, racket or stick the entire summer. I’m simply proposing to make sure your child gives their body and mind a sports-free break for at least a week, maybe longer. And that you do too.
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Encourage other non-competitive activities such as playing on the playground, being outside with friends, splashing in a pool, or just being kids. And yes, they can and should help with the household chores that there was never time for in between the end of the school day and practice or on tournament-packed weekends.
The fall season will be here soon enough, and the more youth sports-rested you are heading into it, the more you will enjoy it.
It’s not when you schedule this type of vacation, it’s just important that you do.
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 JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.