Getting Back to Business as Usual—Or Not

By Janis Meredith | Posted 5/13/2020

Many of you have kids that are impatiently waiting for the resumption of youth sports after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

On the other hand, some of you are wondering if your kids are getting used to life without youth sports and worrying that they may not be motivated to get back into the swing of things.

Perhaps they’ve become a little too comfortable playing video games more than usual and not having to work hard at their sport. If you are concerned about your child’s lack of motivation to get back to business, here are some thoughts on how to handle it.

Find out what they are thinking and feeling. As you see things in youth sports start to open up and your child seems disinterested, talk to them about how they are feeling, what they are excited—or not excited—about. If they don’t want to play again, ask them why and try to understand before reacting.

Make some post-quarantine changes in your home. Let them know that you may have loosened up video game restrictions during quarantine, but that will not last. In fact, pre-quarantine video game rules will be reinstated. If they choose not to play sports again, talk with them about what they can do to fill that time.

Fill the youth sports vacuum. Sitting around watching tv or playing on their phone is not the alternative to not playing sports. If your child is old enough, it could be time to get a job or do more work around the house. If they are too young for employment, help them figure out constructive ways to fill that youth sports hole. Maybe it’s a school club, a new hobby, or volunteering for a non-profit. When my daughter was in middle school, she spent some time volunteering at an animal shelter.

Establish a fitness plan. With obesity on the rise amongst children, the last thing you want to do is neglect their fitness. Although they may not be playing sports, they can still get exercise. Younger children can do this by simply going outside and playing. Older kids may need some guidance. If gyms or fitness classes are not an option, what about doing fitness as a family. Take those walks and bike rides every night. During this quarantine season, I’ve seen more families taking bike rides together than I’ve ever seen in the 8 years we’ve lived in our neighborhood. Maybe it’s just a matter of keeping up the family fitness plan you started during the lockdown.

Give them time. For many kids who seem like they don’t want to play sports again, it may just be a matter of time. They will see their friends playing. They will remember how much fun it was, and it won’t be long before they are ready to get on board again.

Then again, this time off may have been a clarifying season for your child. Perhaps they realized that they are not all that crazy about playing sports and found something else they love doing. If that’s the case, be open to your child’s desires. When it comes to playing youth sports, let them drive that bus. A little encouragement is okay but forcing them to play just because will not give them a love for the game.

We are all coming out of Covid-19 a little different than we entered. Your children will be no different. Help them express their feelings and navigate the changes within themselves.

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


It's important to exercise, but that can be hard if you're stuck in the house. USA Football’s 60 Ways to Play Guide is pack full of at-home exercises and workouts for the whole family.