Keys to a Smooth Sports Practice Night, Part 2

Maybe all the practices will lead to Major League play?

 

This is the third post in my Sports Season Survival Series.  If you missed part 1 of this post, you can read it here.   Tonight is actually soccer practice for my boys and all the topics I plan to cover in this post are probably going to happen tonight especially the first topic listed (Did you hear me sigh?).

How to Avoid Homework Hassles

The easiest way to avoid homework hassle is to have the kids do their homework ahead of time earlier in the week!  Of course, that doesn’t work well if you are stuck like us with a practice night that falls on a Thursday where every Friday is a spelling test or you have a middle school (or I suppose it would apply to high school as well) student where homework comes home randomly.  My experience is that homework doesn’t happen after practice without many tears and meltdowns.  We had a few tears and meltdowns last Thursday evening.  Sometimes they simply cannot be avoided.  Here are a few ideas that may help:

  •  Review Spelling Words and Math Facts while in transit!

When G was younger, we simply reviewed spelling words in the car in transit to or home from practices.  This works with math facts as well.  If you are lucky enough to have 2 school aged kids in the car, have them quiz each other!   I’m fairly convinced my younger son is a bit ahead in school from simply listening to the verbal reviews of spelling words and math facts in the car for a few years before he even started school.  

  •  Have a homework practice night plan! 

We work out a plan as soon as G comes in the door on practice nights.  J has a packet due every Friday that we usually have completed by practice day although we do have one more page to do tonight!  

  • Take it with you!

A clipboard with a pencil attached is a fun and easy way to take homework on the road as well!  Reading can also be done in the car if you have to go any distance.

Reluctant Children

This one could apply to anything not just sports practice nights, I think.  “I want to go to the games.  I just don’t want to go to practice!”  Sound familiar?  Please, please tell me that has happened somewhere besides just here!   Here’s my approach:

  • The speech!

When this happens the first time, I give the you are part of a team and part of that means showing up when you say you will even if you don’t want to go kind of speech.  Sometimes, I follow it up with the GET IN THE CAR NOW!    

  •  Advance Warnings Do Help!

I have found a little advance warning the morning of practice nights or even the previous evening is also extremely helpful. 

  • Incentives!

If all else fails, we go the route of giving our child an incentive to go on those nights.  Amazing the difference a little bribe incentive can have in making getting out the door with a reluctant child a success!

Sibling Blues

What if the reluctant child isn’t on the team?  What if I have to take a sibling to sports practices and they don’t want to go?  This is also a tough one.  What do you do to keep them occupied during the games?

  •  Incentives!

Again, sometimes an bribe incentive is priceless!  The incentive doesn’t have to cost anything either although an ice cream cone at McDonald’s is quick, easy or cheap although probably not very healthy. 

  • Activities!

Personally, I don’t like to hand kids electronic devices at sports practices or games because to me it defeats the point of getting fresh air and exercise.  Take an extra ball or other gear along.  I’ve yet to be at a sports practice where there was only one extra sibling out there.   Most kids love to play with other kids!   Just keep an eye on them if they get their own soccer game going so they don’t interfere with the actual practice going on.   Take a blanket and toys for children that are too young to let wander off out of your arm’s reach.  Of course, you may find yourself with extra kids at your feet so it might be smart to take a few extra toys along as well. 

  •  Food and Drink!

Take a snack and drink for the siblings as well.  It will make your life much easier!  I usually keep these in the car as to give us an extra activity (walking to the car) and to help get little ones there to be one step closer to bedtime.

  •  Bedtime in the car!

I prefer not to sit in the car during practices because I think it’s rather antisocial and I enjoy chatting with the other team parents (usually). However, if you have a younger sibling at a practice that runs past their bedtime, park close if you can so you can take them to the car early. Something about being in a warm car with a blanket always soothed my kids.  If you have the luxury of two parents available on practice nights, you can always divide and conquer. 

******

I’ve decided to cover schedule conflicts in a separate post to try and keep the length of this post in check.  Don’t worry if you were looking for ideas, I have a few but in the mean time might I suggest you try and discover how to be in two places at the same time and then let me in on the secret 🙂

What other keys have you found that make sports practice nights run smoother?

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4 thoughts on “Keys to a Smooth Sports Practice Night, Part 2

    1. Jean Post author

      Thank you! It can be a bit tricky to entertain a sibling while one does something else but I found it always was a bit easier as long as I was prepared.

      Reply
  1. Jenny @Express Bus Mama

    Such great tips! My son is starting baseball soon and I will be referring to this post. Weeknight practices are always tough to juggle. So necessary to have a homework plan…that’s something that always gets lost in the shuffle.

    Reply
    1. Jean Post author

      I’m so glad you found the post useful! Weeknight practices are tough. They always seem to start a dinner time for us but then if they started later, they would run too late.

      Reply

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