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Sports – Get in the Game

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Choosing a sport and balancing it with family life can be a challenge… Last weekend… 2 full days in Orange County for a water polo tournament. This weekend… 3 days in Simi Valley for a Swim Meet. In between… 5 days of practices between 3 kids and a lot of driving! And I know we are not the only family with this kind of schedule.

Is it worth it? When your kids are 4 or 5 years old it is so much fun to have them try a sport. They all look so cute trying to kick a soccer ball or swing the bat. As they get older though, sports become a family commitment whether they are doing soccer, swim team, martial arts or dance. Sometimes when I look at the cost of sports, the time spent in the car and having our lives turned upside down, I wonder if we are making the best choice for our kids. I think sports are fantastic but as they get older, there are not a lot of options to “casually” play a sport because they become very competitive and the schedules becomes quite intense and interfere with family dinners, holiday weekends and more.

Our daughters chose the sports they play and they really enjoy them which as a parent makes me want to support them. However as they take over our lives, I try to figure out where we draw the line and how we help them to avoid burn out. There are time the kids are simply too exhausted and they beg to stay home and just hang out. But there is a responsibility to the team as well to show up and be committed.

There are also a lot of great life lessons learned through sports… winning, losing, sportsmanship, attitude, commitment and sacrifice. So back to my question, I think as long as my kids love these sports, it is worth it but I also think as their parents, we sometimes need to advocate on their behalf with their coaches when they need a break and some balance.

CHOOSING A SPORT… Opportunities for kids to get involved in organized sports start at about age 3 and it is a fun and playful time. It seems so young, yet you realize it is a great time for them to work on getting along with others, accept the different strengths each member of a team brings, follow the instructions of an adult other than yourself and the favorite part for many, enjoy the post-game treat! There are many photo opportunities too, as you watch your little one kick a soccer ball, swing a bat, or pick flowers on the field while the action continues around them. Sports for young kids usually consist of one practice a week and it if is a competitive sport, usually a game on the weekend. As they get older, sports become a family commitment with multiple practices often scheduled in the late afternoon or evenings and local and away games on the weekends.

There are so many different types of sports for children in Santa Barbara ranging from more individual sports like tennis, golf, swim or dance to team sports like baseball, soccer or roller hockey. Many of the local sports for children are all volunteer-run organizations giving parents the chance to be involved as coaches, assistant coaches, snack coordinators or communication coordinators (phone/email trees).

Remember to view our list of more than 75 SPORTS PROGRAMS in Santa Barbara >

[AUTHOR: Rachael Steidl]

February 13, 2015

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