Children react differently to stressful situations. Some don’t want to talk about their feelings. Others need an outlet to keep them from feeling even more stressed. When going through a situation such as a divorce, children need activities to help them take their minds off of it. Many parents choose to enroll their children in sports, which are a great way to relieve stress while ensuring that children get much-needed exercise.
Benefits of Sports
There are many opportunities children experience when participating in sport activities, including physical, mental, emotional, and academic benefits.
- Sports help control diabetes, lower stress levels and improve cholesterol levels.
- Physical activity promotes good heart health by helping the heart pump blood more efficiently.
- Kids who participate in sports tone and strengthen muscles and can improve weight management.
- Sports provide a mental and emotional outlet for kids whose families are experiencing stress, including divorce.
- Sports require repetition and learning, which are skills that translate to the classroom.
- Involvement in sports can also boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
When the Parents Have Issues
Sports are great for kids, but they can create issues between the parents. There are practices, games and uniforms to consider. Sometimes practices and games conflict with visitation schedules. Uniforms can be pricey. Who pays for this? Who takes the kids to practices and games?
Some parents end up arguing with the other parent about all the details. However, parents need to think about their children. Focus on what’s best for them. They don’t want to see parents fighting over sports or they’ll feel pressured to quit. This can create even more stress for kids.
The best strategy is for parents to make a plan that will allow their child to still get all of the benefits of sport participation, without external involvement in or pressure about the family situation.
- Create a schedule just for sports. Decide who drives to practices, attends games, and who will be attending weekend schedules. In the best scenarios, both parents are able to attend when it works in their own schedules. Parents don’t have to sit together, but civility and co-cheering goes a long way for the kids.
- Split equipment costs 50/50 or make sure that these costs are specified in parenting agreements. At the very least, both parents should try to attend games. They don’t have to sit together, but they should act friendly toward each other.
- Let your child’s coach know if there are specific situations/issues that might affect participation, but do not use the coach as a messenger (or referee).
- Each parent should be responsible for staying informed about the child’s sports schedule and requirements.
At Mo’ Motion, we use SportsEngine to connect schedules, announcements, and more between our office and players’ parents. The parent who sets up the SportsEngine account can add additional emails to help ensure that all family members who need and want the information can have access. Please see this page for additional information about how you can use this platform to help your family establish and maintain an effective schedule.