Any shift from one aspect to another is typically bumpy and that’s no different from going from the school year to summer vacation. The change is noted by a flurry of activity as kids have end-of-school family nights/parties, tournaments, playoffs/championships and recitals. In this household, we’ve survived the tournaments and playoffs – and championship win – and are awaiting the final recital and the corollary practices. It creates greater stress as the practices and events sometimes overlap and it’s difficult to manage the usual household activities as well.
There are certain things that I stay on top of during these stretches, even as I’ve learned that some of the daily stuff has to wait.
- Where’s the equipment? Kids will tend to shed equipment entering the house as a snake sheds its skin. Unchecked, the cleats will be left in one location and the socks can be found under the family room sofa while the shin guards have been tossed across the room and landed behind the television set. Make certain that the child properly disposes of equipment upon entering the house so that when called upon for the next use before the upcoming game, it can be easily found and the frantic agitation avoided.
- Assure that the uniforms and outfits are cleaned in time for the next game. It’s tempting to think that the shirt doesn’t look dirty or might not smell, but the reality is that the kids do get dirty and you’re setting an example by how you handle it. Besides, would you really want to wear a jockstrap that’s been through a seven inning or sixty minute game?
- The water bottles are cleaned and ready to go. One of us will also frequently toss one or more bottles in the fridge the morning of a game so that the water’s relatively cold at gametime. If the weather’s hot, we’ll even throw a water bottle in the freezer for several hours so that the ice will melt in the heat and keep the water cold.
- Is there any responsibility for snacks? Some smaller kids teams will have post-game treats and parents take responsibility for individual weeks. Even as the kids age, some parents will provide half-time snacks – oranges and grapes – for a quick energy boost at the half. So what are you responsible for and what has to be done to make it happen?
- At the end of the season, is anybody taking responsibility for getting the coach(es) a thank you gift or card? In most instances, these activities happen because different parents are stepping up and volunteering their time and some gesture is only reasonable and appropriate. In the case of the baseball coaches – all of whom are fathers – each received a gift card and the head coach got a ball signed by all of the players. The soccer coaches – both mothers – likewise got gift cards accompanied by a card signed by the team.
- Even if family meals themselves are blown out of the water, the kids still have to eat decently. Are they getting the proteins, fruits and vegetables that their bodies require? In our case, we’ve learned to stock up on eggs since they’re easy to fix and are a great source of protein prior to a game. Likewise, is the food prepared in time for them before departure? Eating a meal and then immediately running 70 minutes in a soccer game is a recipe for disaster, so quick and decent meals are prepared for eating about 90 minutes before the event – if possible.
Much of the daily stuff will wait until the evening or weekend for completion. And then when everything’s done, I’ll take a deep breath and get ready for the summer break.