Kids and Sports: Making Choices That Work for Your Family

Believe it or not, Jason and I talked about whether or not our kids would be involved in sports before we even had kids. It’s true. We are very good communicators (most of the time); and before we had children, we would sit around and think of all of these hypothetical situations that might arise when we had kids and how we would handle them.

Sports was a biggie. We knew that we wanted a larger family. Children are a blessing, and we expected to have a few and possibly adopt. So we knew our family size may be larger than average. We also knew that I planned to stay home with any children. So we would probably be living on one income. Because of these things we knew that our involvement in many extra curricular types of activities would be limited.

Kids and Sports

And so, as we began to have children and they began to get older, opportunities to be involved in sports began to arise. We skipped out on all the tiny kid athletics. I’m just not sure a three year old can grasp anything about soccer or t-ball no matter how cute it is. We waited until Kathryne and Charles were 7 and 6 before placing them on a city league soccer team.

Since then the athletics chaos has just increased. We ‘ve made the choice to limit how many activities each child would do. Except for rare instances, no one is allowed more than one activity at a time. And we prefer to take a break and not play in back to back seasons.

Thanks to scholarships and grandparents and inexpensive sports teams, our kids have all had the opportunity to be involved in athletics.

Kathryne had a very short run in soccer. She didn’t really like it. She had a year in gymnastics and probably would have stayed if the money and timing of our life in general had been better. She also did a year of cheerleading. That wasn’t her favorite. She took a break from any sport for a while and focused on drama type activities. But last fall she tried volleyball and enjoyed it. She is signed up to play again this spring.

Charles plays anything with a ball. At one time, his favorite sport was football. He played flag for several summers and had a wish to be on a tackle team. He also loved soccer. That has probably been his most played sport. This fall he discovered a love of basketball. That is a sport he hadn’t been around since he was five or six. He’s had the opportunity to be on a team with some godly men and great mentors and a good group of boys. He plans to continue practicing with this group over the summer and play in the fall.

Ashlyne’s sport is perhaps the most time consuming. She is our gymnast. It’s one of those things I vowed I would never do- spend hours in a gym each week and drag the family to out of town meets. Now she is on the team and in the gym 6 hours a week. We’ve also just finished a meet season with 11 meets- only one of which was in town. The truth is she loves it. And we have had some good times traveling as a family. And there have been times when one of us took her and not everybody went. We make each decision about her gymnastics with prayer and with a look at how it will affect our family. For now, it fits for us and has been a positive thing.

Rachel discovered last summer that she enjoyed swimming. She swam on the (very laid back) summer swim team at the Y and continued on through October in the Y’s swim club. She is going to start back in May with swim team. In the meantime, she has just begun ballet for the semester- something she has been asking to try.

For our family, playing sports has had many benefits. There are some really good character lessons that can be learned by being a part of a team. There are some great life lessons that come from winning…and losing.

For each child, each season, we weigh the cost. We consider the time. We look at the impact on the family. And we try to keep in focus the big picture that we feel God is leading us toward in parenting and consider how athletics fits in with that.

This post was originally linked to Blogging Through the Alphabet over at the Ben and Me Blog.

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