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Tips for Balancing Both

Balancing sports, schoolwork, and other activities is one of your child’s greatest challenges. But it can be done — with the right game plan. Here are some tips.

Be realistic: When setting your children’s schedules, do so while looking at a calendar and make sure your young athlete can realistically accomplish all that he or she is taking on. Make sure there are no conflicts with tests or school trips, or family activities such as weddings or birthdays. When there are conflicts, decide beforehand how each situation will be handled.

Set priorities: Make sure your child understands that schoolwork and family obligations must come before sports. Set certain priorities that must be maintained. Understand that sports—although third to school and family—WILL take up a great amount of time and energy.

Demand responsibility: Playing sports is a privilege, not a right. If your child must maintain a certain level of academic success, or accomplish specific goals at home, in order to play sports, be sure you enforce that responsibility.

Communicate: Be sure other family members—spouse, siblings, grandparents if they are involved—understand everyone’s schedule. And talk to coaches and teachers – not to complain about playing time but to let them know if your child is sick or will miss an activity for another reason.

Draw the line: If the priorities you set are not being met, maybe it’s time to the bad guy. If you have to pull the plug on a sport because it’s negatively impacting your child’s performance in other areas, don’t be afraid to do so.

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