Day 3: Sports hat – how to create balance and support

Ruthie Sports hat 5 Comments

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Do your kids play sports?  Are you  attending games right and left, cheering them on in hockey, little league football, or golf?

Good for you!

Whether you have an inclination sports or not (I didn’t), there are a few tips I can give you on how to raise your kid to take advantage of this opportunity, having spent about 20 years of my life in the role of supportive-but-clueless-soccer-mom.

(And by soccer-mom, I mean sports mom in general.  None of my kids even played soccer.  I did, however, drive a van.)


1.  Give them opportunities

When my son was 4 years old, he started T-ball.

That was the funniest, most entertaining sport of our family athletic experience.

At this young age they’re just beginning to have  bit of an attention span, so it’s nice to give them some exposure to see if they have any interest.

But T-ball is one of those games where they get easily distracted because they have lot of  down time either waiting their turn to bat, or they’re clocking field time.

They build little ant forts or run around in circles with their neighbors.


Please allow your children this.

They’re only 4 once and your pressure could actually have the opposite effect you want.  They may end up hating it because of that.

(And by all means, I am not saying you must start them that young.  If you do, make sure you keep it fun and don’t let it take up a lot of their play time.)

Study your child to see if they have a bent towards sports.  It will help you decide whether or not to take that next step.



2.  Don’t pressure them

Maybe you loved soccer when you were young.  Perhaps you were on the all-star volleyball team at your school.  You have a passion for sports and you want your kid to succeed.

It’s good to get them involved and guide them as you see their abilities and interests grow.

But be careful.


Kids have enough peer pressure to deal with. They don't need more from you. Click To Tweet


Make sure you’re their biggest cheerleader, but don’t go all military on them.

I’ve seen enough drama to know that there are some parents who don’t get this.  They yell at their kid from the sidelines, or even worse, they coach that poor child and resort to bullying tactics.

Maybe they will make it big in professional football one day and if they do – great.

But it’s not ultimately your call to decide their future.  It’s their call.

Yes, guide your child.  But make sure you’re not living vicariously through your kid.

It’s gotta be her dream –  not yours.


3.  Be committed

So junior has decided to be on the track team.  He has practice every morning at 6:00 AM.

Get him there on time.

I can’t stress this enough – if your kid chooses on a sport, teach him accountability and commitment!

You are the major influence in developing discipline in that young life.


Sports teach discipline, which spills into other areas of your kid's life. Click To Tweet


Don’t underestimate the importance of this aspect of the athletic arena.


4.  Instill team spirit

Your kid can’t be the only star on the team.  There is no “I” in team.untitled (159)

Develop the mentality of your kid to support and encourage other team members, not be their rival.

They can rival the other team – that is their job.

Team work builds camaraderie and a lot of your kid’s best friends develop this way.  Throughout the euphoria of winning or the agony of defeat, the team wins and loses together.

Support the team yourself as well – encourage the other players with a job well done and invite them over for a fun night in your home.


5.  Create balance

Don’t let your kid be involved in every single athletic activity.  My oldest did this for a while, until I realized it was affecting the whole family and running us all ragged.

(Yes, it’s true, the oldest is the guinea pig.  Sorry about your luck, eldest child – you turned out fantastic anyway.)

It’s not a selfish move to create limits, no matter what your kid says.

You are the boss, and it's up to you to protect your time and the time of your family. Click To Tweet

Make your kid pick one sport per season.  That’s enough, because of this next step.


6.  Create time for well-rounded character

It’s likely that your kid is good at more than one thing.untitled (161)

Keep an eye out for other talents.

There is more to life than sports.  Unless your kid turns into a professional baseball player and retires rich, he needs something to fall back on.

After all, joints wear out, and the body ages.  They will not be playing sports forever.

Give your kid time to find out his other interest, be it music, art, chess, or knitting.


My sports children also had guitar and piano lessons.

They were heavily involved in church and youth group activities.

We made sure we had family time each week.

There is more to life than the swim team.  Model that balance for your kid.


7.  Attend games

If you’re going to let them play, your job is to be there to cheer them on.  It’s not enough to drop them off while you go get a manicure.

Just no.

Your kid is watching you.  She needs your approval and your support.

Be her biggest cheerleader, and games should be a family event, even if you do have more than one kid playing sports.

You only get to be mom once. Make it a good run - your kids need you. Click To Tweet


8.  It’s ok if he’s not talented

So you gave it a go.  You took your kid to every soccer practice, watched every game, made sure he was on time and part of the team,  took your turn providing Gatorade and threw a team pizza party at the end of the year.

But your kid wasn’t really happy.untitled (160)

It’s time to face the fact that this may be your goal and not his.

And maybe there is another sport he’d be better at – by all means, have that conversation with him and give it a try.


But there’s a possibility that:

he just doesn’t like sports.


Please.  It’s not the end of the world.  Sport seasons come and go, but in the end, if your child isn’t happy, just let it go.

And find his niche.

I promise you, it’s there somewhere!



Be the supportive mom with that baseball cap.  Or football helmet, or whatever sport your kid plays.

But remember, don’t pressure, be committed, instill team spirit, create balance and time for well-rounded character, and attend those games.

And if you don’t have a Michael Jordan or a Peyton Manning on your hands, it’s going to be ok.  Really.


Because you have a lot more hats to wear!



Click here for Day 4: The Referee Hat!

{Hey mom, I’m glad you’re here!  If you’re new to this site, this is part of a 31 day series called, “31 Hats Mom Wears”!   I hope you’ll join me for this quick read each day – and easy way to do this is to sign up for it to be delivered right to your inbox!  Just fill out the box to the top right underneath my picture and I’ll see you tomorrow in your email!  I’m pulling for you, mom.  You can ROCK those hats!}



Comments 5

  1. Great counsel Ruthie. I too am a “soccer mom” who drives a gold Honda Odyssey with Black racing stripes on the hood (hey, I had to make it unique SOMEHOW). Track is our sport. My 2 youngers LOVE it, I LOVE it because it’s a short season and it’s fun to watch 🙂

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  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE this Ruthie! My son plays soccer and it is a whole family affair, totally the SUV driving Soccer Mum down here in Australia! Love your heart x {Thanks for visiting my space}

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      Rachel, I’m so glad you stopped by! Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with me, I’d love to learn more about your life “down under”. Your thoughts run deep, my friend. I like that. Keep up the those words of truth. 🙂

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