If you have kids in sports (or multiple kids, in multiple sports) then you know how fun and also stressful it can be. Running this way and that from one field to another can be challenging but it’s also so rewarding to see your kids enjoying themselves playing whatever their chosen sport is. As your kids get older and more competitive then their time commitments increase, and so do yours. These seasons can get quite stressful if you are not prepared, but you are in luck because we have polled all of our sports moms and narrowed down the ten best tips and tricks to help you survive this season, and all of those to come.
Having a child that is playing sports, much less two or three playing on multiple teams in the same sports season, can be a challenge even for the most organized mom, but don’t let that deter you from enrolling your child in varying activities. There are fewer joys than seeing your kid involved in an activity that they truly love. Beside the physical activity of playing sports, kids can learn how to play fair but be competitive, how to have good sportsmanship, how to follow the rules and be apart of a team. All of these will help your child be more well rounded, no matter what sport they choose be involved in! The key to having a successful sports season is to be prepared, so here are ten tips to help you get the most out it!
1. Get Organized
This goes without saying, but a sports mom life is a busy life. At the beginning of the season get yourself organized with practice times/days/places and coordinate these with your spouse or significant other. If you have multiple kids practicing at different places on the same day get a plan going on how you are going to get each kid to where they need to be. Along with this, is one of our best tips: get yourself a great planner! You will need to keep all of these games, practices and clinics straight so you won’t be sure to miss anything. If you are a paper and pen gal, we really love Erin Condren’s Life Planner and Calendars. These planners are not only gorgeous but super easy to organize with color coded stickers so you can use a particular color for each child or day. If digital is your game, Cozi has a great app that you can coordinate with another person to help you stay organized on all of your commitments. Keeping all of the games, practices, scrimmages and tournaments straight will be the key to your staying sane during sports season!
2. Make Your Kids Responsible for Their Own Gear
Yes, you read that correct, we did use the words “kids” and “responsible” in the same sentence. As your kids get older, it’s so important for them to learn to be responsible for their own gear. Not only will this be an important life lesson for them, it is less stuff for you to carry! Invest in a a quality bag for them to carry their ball, pads, and water bottles in and require THEM to lug it back and forth to the field. Teach them check to see that they are leaving with what they came with too.
Contigo offers a variety of BPA-free solutions to keep your family well-hydrated this summer. With spout shields and covers, Contigo water bottles are sanitary yet easy for little ones to access with the touch of a button. And moms will love that these bottles are top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning!
The AUTOSPOUT® Squeeze has a self-sealing design that eliminates spills even when the spout is open. This bottle has a wide mouth and higher flow upon squeezing, so this bottle is perfect for keeping your little athlete cool. The AUTOSEAL® Gizmo Sip is made out of tritan, which makes it extremely durable and won’t stain or retain odors. This bottle also seals between sips to ensure freshness.
The AUTOSPOUT® Flip Chill keeps beverages cold for 14 hours with no condensation. Your little one is sure to have a cool drink of water handy with this spill-proof and one-touch water bottle design. Check out the variety of bottle styles and colorful patterns, you’re sure to find the perfect water bottle for your little one this summer!
3. Save Money on Your Gear
Sports gear can get expensive so shop around to save some money. More often than not, the big box stores will give you the best bang for your buck, but don’t forget to check smaller shops and online too when looking for new gear. When your kids are young and are not playing too hard in their gear, it’s ok to buy the cheaper things, but when they get older and begin to play more competitively then it can be in your best interest to buy higher quality things so they last longer. Another great way to freshen up your sports closet is to organize a gear swap with other team parents. This can be a great way get some new-to-you gear for free!
4. Pack Well
Most moms leave the house with all sorts of stuff anyways and heading to the sports field is no exception. Get a nice roomy bag and devote it to carrying the things you’ll need to stay sane during practice.
Some essentials to take with you are:
- Water for Mom
- Snacks for everyone
- A folding chair
- A great blanket for the kids
- A mini first aid kit
- Bug Spray
- Umbrella (for sunny or rainy days!)
- Something to read (that is unless you are busy chasing your younger kids around!)
No sports mom bag is complete without a comfortable and easy to clean blanket for the kids to sit on! We are in love with this gorgeous Artisan beach blanket from Birchbox that is as pretty as it is functional. This blanket is made from an ultra soft blend of cotton and acrylic and is handwoven by Moroccan artisans. This blanket comes in a variety of colors and is absolutely perfect for the yard, beach, park, or the soccer field.
The fact that this blanket is super thin makes it great for the sports mom bag since it can be rolled up extra small so you’ll have plenty of space still for your other gear. It’s the perfect size for a few kids to sit on or is soft enough to snuggle under if the weather gets chilly. The simple stripes make a bold statement and bright colors will have people asking you where it’s from! The artisan project blanket is a must have for any sports mom’s bag.
5. Keep Your Other Kids Busy
If you have younger kids with you at all of these practices and games, you will want to have some activities with you to keep them busy and happy so you can watch your little all-star. Electronics are an obvious choice, but things like books, crayons and paper, mini blocks, pipe cleaners or Magformers are all great alternatives. Check out our list of Electronic-Free Ideas to Keep Your Kids Busy at a Restaurant for some other ideas that would work at the soccer field too!
6. Get a Great Wagon
With all of this gear you are lugging around, do yourself (and your back!) a favor and invest in a collapsable wagon that you can keep in your car to be able to carry all of your chairs, bags and little kids from the car to the field and back again. This will be an investment that will keep on giving for many seasons to come, we promise!
Every sports mom needs an efficient way to cart equipment and children to and from the car. We love the Radio Flyer Ultimate EZ Fold Wagon for many reasons. It is truly the most convenient and versatile way to get both your little people and their belongings where you need to go.
One of the best features of this wagon is that it folds down to be smaller than most strollers! It fits easily in any trunk (with room to spare) and can even be pulled by the telescoping handle when it is folded, for easy transport. The stroller has 4 cup holders and the DuraClean fabric makes any spill easy to clean.
The EZ Fold Wagon also offers a removable UV protective canopy, so your little ones can stay safely out of the sun as you stroll along. Your children will be comfortable with the seat backs on either side and safe thanks to the seat belt in each seat.
7. Get to Know the Other Moms
Once you are really invested in a sport, you will begin to see the same faces over and over again, and if you are spending so much time with these ladies, you may as well make friends! Not only is getting to know the other moms nice because you can chat while the kids practice, it can also be beneficial if you are in a bind and maybe need help with transportation. Think about it: your youngest is sick but you don’t want your oldest to miss a practice and your husband is working. Knowing some of the other moms can help in these kind of situations.
8. Stay Out of the Drama
As kids get older, and things get more competitive, a certain element of drama and politics can sometimes enter the sports parent scene. The best advice here is really to avoid this and just lay low. Smiling and nodding politely goes a long way to diffuse drama, and when you continually deflect drama, you’ll usually find that less of it will come your way. Remember that above all the drama are kids playing, no matter if they win or lose. If you show your best sportsmanship, your kids will learn by example.
9. Dust Off Your Crock Pot
Once your kids are bigger and you are having multiple games on the same day, sometimes you are left to eating dinner at the field. Get to know some crock pot recipes that you can make earlier and bring with you to the field so you aren’t always getting take out or just eating sandwiches. Choose healthy, filling recipes that can be eaten on the go (think: in a bun!). This will not only save you money, but are also a much healthier choice than fast food.
10. Don’t Forget to Enjoy it!
All of the hustle and bustle of running to the field and back can leave you feeling rushed and tired, but don’t forget to enjoy these games with your kids. One of the best things about having an older kid is watching them do something they love, so don’t let the rush take those moments away from you. A wise parent sees competitive sports as a chance to build a kid’s confidence and teach him or her some important life lessons; it is rarely the springboard to a fabulous athletic career. So remember to take it all in stride and enjoy it. Push your child to do their best, but don’t push them over the edge. No matter what, always be their biggest champion.
If the saying “find the beauty in the chaos” can be applied anywhere it is to this time in your life. Sports seasons can be over in a blink of an eye but if you are prepared, organized and plan ahead you can really enjoy it. By using these tips and tricks you can become the most prepared mom on the field!