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Kids' Sports & Activities Kids' Sports & Activities

How to Handle Multiple Sports Activities

Posted by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 12:00 AM
  • 28 Replies

As soon as your second child is born, parental juggling begins. No longer do you have a one on one ratio - now you have to split your time. It's an enjoyable effort, to be sure - but as soon as you get the balance sussed out, your babies become school aged kids - and those kids very often play sports.

Adding in a sports rotation strike fear into the hearts of the most intrepid of parents, and it's no wonder. Between practices and games, picture sessions and conditioning, there can be an activity or two every single day of the week. Multiply that times two, three or more children and you may soon find yourself running for the hills. There are secrets to balancing multiple kids and/or multiple sport activities - here are a few that have helped me.

  • Mark your calendar - Remember that I suggested you get a big desktop calendar and mount it on your wall? Mark every single practice on that calendar. Color it according to each child - one kid gets a blue highlighter, one a pink and one an orange. This way, you can see at a glance if you've got two activities at the same time, and if you've got to be in three different cities at the same time.
  • Pick just one - It can be tremendously exciting for an athlete to be asked to join two teams, or to focus on two different sports. You are only one parent, though, and it can be a necessary, yet difficult lesson that your young athlete needs to learn. Playing for two teams doesn't leave time for much else in life, so it would be a great idea for your talented child to pick one area of focus.
  • Get to know the other parents - The other parents in the team can be your greatest allies. They can help with driving, be there in your stead if you must miss a game, and can help you by being your eyes and ears when you can't be there.
  • Discuss it with your kids - I vividly remember the fall season that I had four playing soccer, two running cross country and one in boxing class. I sat them all down in front of me and laid it out honestly. With six kids and one adult, I was just not going to be able to be at every game or practice, and I needed them to be ok with it. If they weren't going to be ok, I would need to know before hand, and we'd have to revisit the thought of that particular child playing sports. I also told the older kids that I wasn't able ever to leave a 5 or 6 year old alone at practice, and I wanted that understood in the beginning. A bit of knowledge upfront goes a long way towards smoothing over hurt feelings.
  • When you are there, be there - Don't be on the phone with your girlfriend. As much as possible, stay off the smart phone and avoid checking emails. When you are watching, be present and focused on your child. They see it, they know it and they remember.
  • Cut yourself some slack - That fall season I mentioned above? It was a tough season for me, one that caused me to cry a couple of times when I just couldn't be there for a game or missed a goal. It took a sit down discussion with a close friend to remind me that I was only one person and I could only do so many things at the same time. Be nice to yourself. Don't set expectations so high that you are certain to fail.

Have you had more than one child playing sports, or one child playing multiple sports? What are your favorite time and coping techniques?

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 12:00 AM
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by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I have an only child, but he has played multiple sports before.

What I do is check the schedules (if possible) before signing him up. If the schedules work together, I'm willing to sign him up. If one of the sports doesn't have a set schedule, I'll talk to the organizer to get a sense of the schedule, but usually that sport is more demanding and doesn't have time for a second sport going on.

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 10:50 AM
Good ideas, thanks
by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 11:05 AM

This year my son won't be in more then one activity. Last year he was and my stragety was to keep them on seperate days.

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 11:11 AM

 Great tips. My son has only done one sport at a time so far and my LO is still too young.

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I only have 1 in sports right now but she keeps me plenty busy! LOL She only does one sport, soccer, but plays on multiple teams. I have to keep each team separate and know what we need and where were going each weekend. Soccer has become our life!

by Valeri aka HOT MOMMA on Aug. 31, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Right now, our rule is one activity at a time.  We do have multiple kids in the same sport but different practice days and times.

DH and I pick 2 days each to take kid(s) to practice.  That way each child gets each parent to watch them practice/play.

We also use a family google calendar that syncs with both of your phones.

Lastly, getting to know and trust other parents is important.  One of our friends is the coach and we trust him and his wife a lot.  Anytime we are scrambling with activities, we can always drop off our daughter and he takes her to practice with him.

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM
Same here, right now he's in cub scouts only

Quoting jen113000:

 Great tips. My son has only done one sport at a time so far and my LO is still too young.

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by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 2:35 PM

My youngest is just now starting to get into sports. So we have upgraded our organizational system. Most of these types are great. The 'get to know other parents' one I find completely unacceptable though. If these are parents that have been on your team for a few seasons sure why not share duties. But the thought of making friends just to use them to haul my kids around or babysit them...turns my stomach a little.

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 8:57 PM

This is the first year that I feel pulled in all directions because I have two boys in football. One plays flag and one plays tackle. Both boys practice Tues and Thurs. My older son also practices Mon and Wed, soon they will drop Wed practice. The Tues nights that both have practice I have to drop my older son off at his practice field then drive across town to my younger sons practice. Then drive back at the end of practice (they both end at 730p) to get older son. On Thursday my hubby doens't work so he takes one boy and I take the other. At this point games won't be a problem but I will be on the football field all Saturday mornings for my younger son and some Sat evening or Sunday afternoons for my older son. My hubby works everyother Sat and every Sun. so it's just me.

I really rely on my daily planner that I keep in my purse so I can always check to see what I am doing and when things can be scheduled. I also have a white board calendar on my fridge that is color coded. Other than that I just go with the flow and do alot of deep breathing :)

by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 9:52 PM
The best thing I have going for me right now is their practices are not at the same times....I mean football practice starts at 6 and then my baseball player has practice at 7:30. So, I take one to football watch for a while run the other to baseball come back and pick up football player at 8 then go back to baseball practice. They are only like 5 minutes max from each other So it works out. Lol.
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