If this is the first time you’ve got more than one child playing sports each season welcome to the family! There are dozens of practices and games to make, team dinners to plan, fundraisers to organize, away tournaments to get to, and more. Managing a multi-athlete family may require a little more planning than you suspect, so here are three tips to make it through the season.
Get your calendar organized at the beginning of the season.
Any sport parent can tell you that balancing one youth sports schedule with school, family vacations, doctor’s appointments, and work events is hard enough. Trying to manage two or three schedules each season is practically impossible without a little planning. Talk with other parents about carpooling, figure out which games you’ll attend throughout the season (what happens if both kids have a game at the same time on opposite sides of town?), if you have to provide half-time snacks on certain days, what weekends you have to travel, and so forth.
Most coaches have rules regarding attendance, so you don’t want your child to miss too many practices and then be benched for the next game because you didn’t arrange a ride for them. While life happens and sometimes you’re running late (which most coaches understand, they’re parents too after all), if it starts to become a habit it’s very disrespectful to the coach and the team.
Don’t compare one child’s performance to another.
There is always going to be a little competition between siblings, especially if they are both playing the same sport. It’s important that as parents we do our best to not compare one child’s performance to another. If your oldest son is a superstar baseball player and his little brother is struggling every time he steps up to bat chances are he doesn’t need to be reminded how much like his big brother he’s not. What you say and what our kids hear can be two very different things, and if one child gets all the praise for their athletic performance and the other gets nothing (or worse, just a lot of negative comments), it might be interpreted as you loving one child more than another, or that your love is inherently tied to sports. Not to say that you have to artificially boost your child’s ego, but just be aware of how you talk to one child compared to another.
Buy used sporting gear when possible.
If your child has played even one season of sports you know just how much new gear can caught. Even in soccer, which has relatively little equipment, buying new gear each season can get very expensive. If you are trying to manage your budget in a multi-athlete home start your season by shopping at used sporting goods store. You could also talk with other sports parents and see if they have some season-old hand-me-downs that will fit your children. If you’re feeling extra inspired you could even help organize a league-wide gear swap to help other parents find new-to-them gear for cheap.