What to do When the Holidays and Youth Sports Collide

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/17/2019

‘Tis the season for crazy busy holiday schedules, and if your child is playing sports, the plot thickens.

I’ve seen this conflict of interest handled several ways by different families. Maybe you’ve chosen one of these options:

» Family first. Any sports event that conflicts with a family holiday event loses out. No question.

» Commitment to team first. Any sports event that conflicts with a family holiday event wins because the child has committed to the team and the team is counting on them.

» We can do both. Showing up at one event and leaving early to make the other. This is done with the intention of showing commitment to both options.

Do these choices resonate with you?

I am not here to tell you that one of these is the correct answer. How you choose to manage your family’s schedule is entirely up to you and your family priorities. However, I do believe there are some ways to calm the busyness and manage the conflicts.

» Have a family meeting

Before things get too crazy, sit down and sync calendars. If things come up as a conflict, discuss which one should be a priority. If you and your child have different opinions, hear them out and explain your reasoning. Look for ways to compromise by letting them choose one event to go to and you choosing another.

» Let the coach know

Once you’ve prioritized your calendar, give the coach plenty of notice if your child will not be able to attend a game or a tournament. Explain that family is important to you and that this is one commitment you don’t want them to miss. If you do this all the time, this may fall on deaf ears but if your child has been consistent, they should understand.

» Look for ways to combine family and sports

Since two of my kids played basketball in high school, we were always hit with tournaments during the holidays If they were away, we looked for ways to make it a family “vacation.” If they were home, we looked for ways to support every child and encouraged our kids to support each other. Then, we’d strive to make up the fun that they may have thought they were missing by doing something when they were free.

A lot of the stress of the family/sports conflict boils down to your attitude. If you can accept that something has to give and not worry about trying to be at everything, plus you can relax and enjoy the event that is right in front of you instead of thinking about what you had to say “no” to, your holiday season will be much more enjoyable.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.