Recently, my son mentioned that he wants to play baseball in the Spring. Only one problem with that… we are not a sporty family and I have no idea where to start when it comes to fitting the baseball field (or any sport) into our busy schedule. I needed some tips and turned to long-time sports mom and friend, Lisa.
As a mom of 4, my life is pretty crazy, but during the 8 months of the year when my kids are in sports (more than that if they play travel), my schedule is insane! Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it, but when my kids first started playing sports, I nearly lost my mind. Now that I’ve been doing this for a long time (I’ve even done some coaching over the years too), I have some tips to keep you sane and happy.
1. Find a calendar system that works for your family.
As much as I love technology, I have found that a paper calendar works best for our family. This grid style calendar has worked really well for us, but you’ll need to find a calendar that works well for you.
Write all games, practices, etc. on the calendar as soon as you get the schedule. Make sure to note the days you’re supposed to bring snacks or meals.
Also, if you have multiple kids going different places, make sure your calendar is clearly marked with the person responsible for driving them. This is a great way to avoid confusion and can help you avoid last minute panic when you realize you can’t be in two places at the same time, and your husband has a meeting that he can’t get out of.
2. Create a meal plan.
A meal plan is crucial to keeping your kids healthy (and keeping you sane) during sports season. If you don’t have a meal plan, you’ll find yourself at the drive through more times than you want to admit.
Make sure to consult your calendar while making your meal plan. If you know your family will be at a game (or traveling to a game) during mealtime, plan on having wraps, sandwiches, or burritos and taking them with you. If you know you won’t have time to make a meal on a particularly busy night, you can prepare your quick meals to go on the weekend so you can just grab them and take them with you.
You can also easily prep a week’s worth of crock pot meals in under 90 minutes and freeze or refrigerate them until it is time to dump them in the crock pot.
Easy meals like these Barbecue Chicken Nachos are also perfect for nights when you don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen. I also like to keep yogurt, string cheese, deli meat, and hard-boiled eggs on hand for days when we have evening practices or games and won’t have a chance to eat dinner until later than usual.
3. Use TeamSnap for communicating with your team.
TeamSnap is a team management application that will make it easier for coaches, team organizers, or team moms to communicate effectively and efficiently.
Remember in the old days when practice would get canceled and the coach or some of the moms would have to call all the players? I do… and I’m happy to tell you that the old days are over. Now with the tap of a finger, a coach can let parents know via text and email that practice is canceled or that the game is moving to a new location due to flooded fields.
Last minute updates have never been easier. TeamSnap has free and paid plans available, so there is something for every team and every budget!
4. Color Coordinate and Label Everything!
When you’re running around like a crazy person, it can be hard to make sure that every child in your family has what he or she needs for their sport. Add crowded locker rooms and lots of kids and it can make keeping track of your belongings even harder.
Make sure to label everything your child will use or wear for each sport with his or her name (including socks and shinguards). You can write their name in permanent marker or purchase labels online. While some of your items may still come up missing along the way, you have a much better chance of ending up with everything you started the season with.
Also, consider purchasing sport-specific bags for each of your children. If you have 2 kids who play 2 sports each, consider purchasing 4 duffel bags in different colors. You can label each bag with iron-on decals with your child’s name and sport. This will help them to know that volleyball stuff goes in the volleyball bag and softball stuff goes in the softball bag. This is also great for keeping all their gear together in the off-season so you don’t have to buy new goalie gloves every single year.
5. Make sure you budget for your expenses.
When my kids were younger and played Upward basketball and city league softball, I had to pay their sports fees and uniform fees, but other than those fees and their equipment (plus whatever we ate at the concession stand), there wasn’t a whole lot of money involved.
And then junior high rolled around.
In addition to sports fees, we had to pay for warm-ups, shooting shirts, special gear AND we had to pay to get into games. My 16 year old is currently playing basketball. It costs $5 per person to get into her games which means we pay $20 for my husband, our 8 year old twins (who have no interest in watching the game) and me. There are months where we have 13 or 14 games. That’s a huge chunk of money… and some of the games are over an hour away which means we’re paying for gas too.
Make sure you budget a sufficient amount of money to cover ALL the costs of the sport (or decide in advance how many games you can afford to go to and let your child decide which ones he or she wants you to be at).
6. Show grace!
There are so many things that I love about sports and what they can do for your family and for your child, but there also things that can be hard. For the sake of your sanity, show extra grace to those around you and to yourself.
There are nights where your kids will be out past their bedtime making for some grumpy nights and mornings… show grace. When the coach makes a decision you don’t agree with or an official makes a call you don’t like, show grace. When your daughter forgets her cleats or your son wears the wrong color uniform, show grace. When your child’s coach doesn’t communicate well, show grace (and share TeamSnap with them). When you have to go through the drive through because all the food you prepped is sitting at home on the counter, show yourself grace. These things happen!
More about TeamSnap
Show yourself some grace right now and make life easier by checking out TeamSnap.
TeamSnap is the app that every sports parent and coach needs because:
- you can keep a roster of the entire team and contact information in one place;
- have team members RSVP for events;
- track player’s statistics;
- sync your schedule with other popular calendar applications and software;
- send a group message to all in one simple text;
- and more!
Enter the giveaway
One reader will win a prize bundle including:
But remember that you don’t need to wait because you can start using TeamSnap for FREE right now.
Disclosure: This post contains a paid product endorsement but a positive review was not required. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Giveaway ends December 21, 2014 at 11:59 PM CDT. Winner will be notified on December 22 and have 48 hours to respond or the prize will be forfeited. Thanks for participating. Good luck!
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