Are your kids in youth sports? If so, then I bet you spend a lot of time on the sidelines.
During the season, we are on the soccer field several days a week for practices and games. It’s inconvenient at times, and I confess that I spend way too much time on my smartphone while the kids are running drills. But I love watching them play.
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And you know who else loves watching the kids play–the other parents on the sidelines. The kids on my children’s soccer team have some amazing parents that I am lucky to call friends.
Why you need friends on the sidelines
- When you forget your kids’ water bottle, there is usually another parent there that came with extras.
- Your friends on the sidelines keep an eye on the little siblings as they play while you cheer for your older kid on the field.
- Need to run to the restroom or your car for something but don’t want to lose your spot? No worries, we’ll watch your stuff.
- Can’t remember what time the playoff game starts? You know who to text.
- Are you juggling a tight schedule to get your kid to the game on time? Ask another mom to bring your son to the game too.
My friends on the sidelines know that I’m not exactly as crazy as I sound when I am cheering on our team. And I know they are mostly sane themselves when our kids aren’t on the field. But when it comes down to it, there’s nobody else I’d rather jump up and down and scream with when Pea scores a goal than the other parents on our team. My kids love to hear the other parents cheering them on.
How to break the ice when you don’t know the other parents on your child’s team
Look up, put away your phone and smile. Say hello. It’s easy to hide behind technology, but nothing beats interacting with real people.
Compliment the other parent’s kid. If you notice an improvement in their kid’s confidence or skill, mention it. My kids love to tell me what they like about their teammates. Pass along the information. Most parents would love to hear about how your kids think their child is always positive and makes them smile.
Offer to help. If you notice another mom struggling to keep her younger child entertained, offer to help. If you have a younger child sitting on the sidelines too, join forces and let the little ones occupy each other. Bring toys. Nothing is worse than trying to keep a toddler out of trouble and watch the game at the same time. It’s horrible when you miss your child’s goal because your younger one is whining.
Bring some cold drinks and snacks to share with parents. It gets hot sitting on the sidelines. If you have some extra POWERADE® and NABISCO snacks, share! Eight packs of 20oz POWERADE® are on rollback at Walmart. Some even have a coupon hanging from the bottles that you can use to Save $1.50 on NABISCO 20-pack Multipack.
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Be yourself and a good role model for your kids. Children learn from watching how their parents react to the world. When the parents make an effort to be “part of the team,” it reinforces the team spirit and sportsmanship that the kids learn from playing youth sports. Having friends on the sidelines makes the game so much more fun for the entire family!
Think of it this way. Why do you pay money to have your child participate in youth sports? What is your reason for choosing to rush home from work to sit on the sidelines when there are a hundred other things you can be doing with your time? Why is it important to you that your child learns how to be a good sport?
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I’m willing to bet that you share those reasons with the other soccer parents. They are there because they want what’s best for their kids. They want their children to improve their skills, learn sportsmanship, understand what it is to be on a team and to get exercise doing something they enjoy. You probably have more in common with the other parents on the team than you think. You just have to step out of your comfort zone and say hi.