This fall Adeline and Elias are both playing soccer, which means much of our Saturday mornings are spent on the soccer field. My kids love soccer, and it has been such a wonderful part of our weekly routine. I love that they are getting exercise, learning good sportsmanship, enjoying the outdoors and having a blast.
Elias started playing in spring 2013 and Adeline in spring 2015. Over the past few years I have learned a lot. Growing up, I never played sports, so it has been really fun for me to become a soccer mom. If your child is just getting started playing a sport, here are some tips for a great season and beyond.
1. Prepare the night before: We have had one too many Saturday mornings where we are scrambling to find socks in the dryer, soccer balls, misplaced shin guards, etc. Now I always make sure to have everything ready Friday night because it really makes Saturday morning run smoother. Keeping a bag together of the things we need every week also helps a lot too. In addition to the soccer paraphernalia, snacks and sunscreen, I always have my camera and a book. Sometimes I am able to sneak in a few pages of reading!
2. Bring plenty of water: This is a big one. Don’t just bring your child’s water bottle, but bring an extra bottle in case he needs a refill. Also, bring drinks for you too!
3. Bring healthy snacks: Snack responsibilities rotate week to week. Don’t be the parent who brings junk food for a snack. Bring something healthy like apple or orange slices, gogurt, applesauce pouches, etc. If you want to bring a treat, bring something healthy too. (For instance, on a particularly hot Saturday we brought gogurt AND small popsicles.) Also, bring extra for siblings!
4. Share your photos: If you take photos, share them with the team. Parents who don’t take many pictures are always grateful when I send a great shot of their child.
5. Encourage and help your coach: Matthew coached Adeline’s team last season and always appreciated when the parents offered to help. From pitching in when a coach can’t make practice to assisting when a child is injured, offering extra support makes a big difference, particularly when kids are little. Also, remember to say thank you. Those little words mean a lot.
6. Cheer for both teams: This might not seem obvious, but cheer for both teams. These are little kids who all need encouragement- even if they are not on your son or daughter’s team. Also, it’s important to remember that your kids are watching how you behave, so be a good example.
7. Bring extra and share: If you have an extra folding chair, bring it. Bringing a little sibling? Bring extra snacks. Extra, extra, extra helps make the time go fast for little ones and make friends with other parents. I have found this to be especially important this year because of the two kids playing. We are often at the field for 2.5-3.5 hours, so having a few extras makes this easier.
8. Create community: Get to know the other parents. This is Elias’s third season playing with the same group of boys and we have become close to all the families. It has been a joy to attend birthday parties, share meals, have playdates, etc.
9. Eat a healthy breakfast: We love having pancakes on weekends, but not on soccer Saturdays. Eggs or cereal and fruit help give the kids the energy they need for their big games.
10. Savor these Saturdays: The seasons go so fast. Savor these special memories for your family. They will be treasured for many years to come.