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Being a sports parent is something that I absolutely love. I constantly see how playing sports has benefitted my kids, not to mention all of the amazing memories we have built together over the last seven years since my children have started playing sports. That being said, being a sports parent was a BIG learning curve, and there were things I wish I would have been more prepared for. From how to stay on top of schedules to what to pack, here are the top 5 things I’ve learned (so far) as a parent to two very active boys.
1. Find a carpool as soon as you can
Often, my kids have practice or a game 30km away from my home at 5 or 6 pm, completely impossible for most parents who have a full time job. Initially I thought I didn’t need to carpool, but sharing the load with other parents took a huge amount of stress out of my day to day.
2. Always have extra snacks/water in the car
This is a huge lifesaver for me. Instead of having to remember to bring snacks, or stopping off somewhere unhealthy when I have hungry kids in the car, I always have a case of water bottles and something to tide them over.
3. Plan for a longer than advertised time commitment
The end of the season is largely dependent on how far your kid’s team gets in any season. Most schedules don’t include playoffs, so make sure to either consult with your coach before doing anything like planning vacations.
4. Pay attention to the parents on your team
The relationships you have with the parents is so tight that you'll want to pay attention to the types of parents you see at the tryouts. If they seem intense (and, you're not), it's a good time to re-evaluate the team you're trying out for. The same goes for coaches. Pay attention to the coaches and their coaching style. If there’s something you don’t agree with right off the bat, save yourself the stress of endless conversations.
5. Always go by the 24 hour rule
Unless there is something immediate and obvious that requires you intervening on your kids behalf, it’s good to take a step back and wait 24 hours to approach a coach or a parent if you’re not happy with something they did. Emotions can run high during a game, and if If you're a parent and you're ticked about something that occurred on the field/ice, don't react immediately. Give yourself a day before addressing with the coach/other parent.