You all know I have sporty kids! Collectively my boys have participated in t-ball, swimming, basketball, karate, flag football, tennis, skiing/snowboarding, skateboarding and soccer. That's a lot of practices, a lot of games, a lot of tournaments...a lot of time.
Here's my Mom Tips for participating in team sports...
* Keep your schedule in mind: It's very easy to overschedule kids because there's always something fun being offered, and of course your kids want to play. However, before you sign up consider your child's other needs...how much homework they have, how much time they need to relax, and their actual interest in the sport. Consider your family's calendar also...can you still have dinner together every night? My boys play only one sport at a time. When we decided to purchase season tickets for skiing, we let them know that they wouldn't be on basketball teams.
* Keep your kids interests and abilities in mind: We all think our kids are exceptional (and we should be their biggest cheerleaders!) but remember that they will be playing with other kids. I have seen many 3 and 4 year olds put on a team or into a camp before they really wanted to be there. This causes the coach to spend more time with crying or disinterest than with coaching the kids who want to be there.
*Talk with your coach: Most coaches at younger levels are volunteer parents. Let them know if your child has special needs. Be upfront about your schedule as well, if you'll be playing more than one sport at a time, let the coaches know rather than just arrive late or leave early. Most people appreciate a heads-up.
*Be your Kids Cheerleader! Let the coach, coach and you should cheer. Be their first model of good sportmanship! Understand the rules of the game for their level of play and reinforce these in practice. Practice the game with your kids at home so that they are prepared for the team practice.