By Niovie Constantinou, APC Sports Consulting, Nicosia, Cyprus
The important role of parents helping young athletes excel both academically and in the sports’ field cannot be overstated.
A sporting parent can offer emotional support, practical time management tips and encouragement for their child to realize their potential in a healthy manner. It may sometimes be difficult for a young athlete to combine their education with sport, and, at times, it may feel like the two areas are competing priorities. However, with the right attitude, they can enhance each other; helping your child learn to balance school and sport is a lesson that will serve them well throughout adulthood.
Here are a few ways to help your child strike a balance between sport and academics:
- Teach your child to manage their time well: assist your child in choosing a tool to help them make a plan and teach them to create calendar assignments for games, practices, and other deadlines. You can help them come up with a schedule, once they get their syllabus and training schedule, and you may discuss and review the plan together, at frequent intervals, to ensure that it is realistic.
- Encourage your child to complete their homework on time and stay on top of their assignments, as leaving things until the last minute can cause stress for both you and them. Keeping to their plan and tackling tasks, as soon as possible, will help them to be more in control and avoid getting stressed during their free time, sports practice or games.
- Help them study in a smart and efficient manner: talk to your child about making the best use of their time; perhaps travelling to and from games may be utilized to complete an assignment, whilst they should make the most of study halls. Indeed, homework does not only have to be completed at night; be creative with their time management to maximize their free time. In this way, your child will also learn how to manage their time well.
- Make time for your child to relax. It is important that your child’s plan incorporates breaks to enjoy their hobbies, being with friends and family, and rest. Having a proper life balance will help them avoid burn out and enjoy the journey, which is what sport should really be all about!
- Be there for them: engage with your child and keep a close eye on their behavior in their academic and social environments; if there is a change in their grades, sleep patterns, social engagements or general behavior, it may be a good idea to discuss these changes and be supportive of your child.
- Do not forget your priorities: your child should be able to take a day off from their sports practice or miss a game if there is a family event or holiday, but let their coach know ahead of time. It is important that they understand that there are times when personal matters need to come first.
- Less is more. If your child is involved in too many sporting events, or too many extracurricular activities, and does not get any personal time, then it may be time to reconsider which activities are most important and which can be set aside for now.
Balancing education, social development and sport may be challenging for a child.
However, with the right approach, it is a great way to teach children all about:
- time management;
- hard work; and
- skills that will equip them for a successful future.
Of course, do not lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, your child should enjoy the process and gain lifelong experiences that they will cherish and benefit from for years to come!
For more information on sport parenting, log onto: ‘www.apc-sport.com’