1. Going to all your kids’ games. Or at least most of them, if you can.
2. Telling your children you are proud of them, whether they win or lose. Do this before they even play, after they play and as often as possible when it has nothing to do with sports.
3. Saying yes to playing with them. Even when you’re tired or have other “important” things to do, you will always be glad you took the time to play catch, shoot hoops or throw the football around, and remember to keep it fun!
4. Teaching them to respect coaches and teammates. This behavior always sets them apart as influencers.
5. Letting them try new things. Maybe it’s a new sport, a new musical instrument, or just a new hobby.
6. Volunteering to help your child’s team and coach. If each parent helps in even a small way, the work will all get done.
7. Being excited. Enjoy the adventure of sports parenting!
8. Listening to them, even if they are just jabbering and rambling on telling you every detail of the practice or game. If you listen while they are little, maybe they will keep talking as they grow up!
9. Celebrating small victories. Even when your child has a bad game or when the team loses, there’s always a small victory in there if you look hard enough.
10. Being a friend to a parent on the team who needs one. As a sports parent, you can model compassion for your child by befriending a lonely or new sports mom or dad.
11. Saving the newspaper clippings, awards and other memorabilia. You will be glad you did someday.
12. Letting them fight their own battles for playing time or position. They become stronger as they earn it on their own without your assistance.
13. Refusing to nag them to perform. Instead, focus on encouragement as a form of motivation.
14. Buying a stadium chair; your bottom will be glad you did!
15. Not taking it personally when they clam up after a game. Give them space and wait until they are ready to talk.
16. Stressing to them that points and awards are fun, but they are not the most important thing; teamwork and good character are.
17. Refusing to allow your child to rush back to play after getting injured. Be sure she is fully healed and cleared by the doctor.
18. Taking lots of picture and videos.
19. Saying yes to losing sleep. Not every night, of course! But you will never get these days back and sometimes being with your child on trips or late night adventures is way more important than sleep!
20. Supporting the coach, even if you don’t agree with everything he does.
21. Keeping your mouth shut when you want to “push” your child to play better. Sometimes nagging or pushing only pushes them away.
22. Seeing the bigger picture of sports. If you can, youth sports can be a positive force in shaping the character of your child.
Enjoy the moment of the season you are in. I know it’s crazy and hectic, but be intentional in doing the “should-haves” or you will surely end up “shoulding” on yourself when your kids are grown.
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new booklet 11 Habits for Healthy and Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.
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