It's that time of year again. While running in the morning with my wife I see the school buses driving through our neighborhood. We see parents waving good-bye as the kids head off to school. Back to school is here! It's the time to get readjusted to having schedules and various activities that were on hiatus over summer break. For the youth athlete it can also mean getting ready for tryouts or preseason workouts. While this happens every year, each year still brings something new and exciting, and your kids can use your help adjusting to it all. Whether your kids can drive to and from school, or to and from practices and games on their own, or you are their taxi, your involvement will help tremendously. Below are a few ways to help your youth athletes get ready to go back to school.
Put tryouts, practices, and games on your calendars
Now that the kids will be gone all day, your days may follow a more consistent schedule so that is helpful. But you want to make sure you have all those before and after-school activities on your calendars. Gather as much info in advance as you can and put that info on your calendar so you can plan around or communicate, in advance, any event your kids will have to miss.
Create your transportation plan
The school bus may pick up your kids before school and take them home after school at the time school starts and ends. But the schools in my area don't pick up and drop of youth athletes after their practices. Connect with friends, family, your kids teammates' parents and create a transportation plan. This may include carpooling, and an emergency parent that can take your kid home or bring them to you if something comes up.
Organizing and packing food and sports gear/equipment
When your kids play sports it can make for a long day. Depending upon what time they eat lunch during school they may have four or more hours since their last meal when school ends and/or practice begins. Be sure to have a plan for what they can eat between school ending and practice beginning, as well as when practice ends to replenish the fuel they burned during practice. A long day of school followed by tough workouts at practice and/or private coaching sessions can wear them down and leave them not able to perform at their peak performance. In addition they may need to bring extra bags for sports gear or equipment in addition to their school bag. Help them organize it and pack so lugging bags around isn't too tedious for them.
Get a physical for your kids
Many school teams and youth leagues will require a recent physical to be on file for them to participate. Be sure to set up an appointment with your kid's physician to have a physical and make sure you have updated medical records to provide for your kids school and/or youth league. One way to be proactive about this is to schedule your kids annual physicals during this time every year. Your doctor will typically call with a reminder as the time approaches each year. Using the things listed above can help you and your kids have a smooth transition from summer break to back to school and fall sports. And it'll get them ready to give their very best at tryouts and preseason as they prepare for a new year.
What is your best back to school advice for the parent of a youth athlete?
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