Posts Tagged ‘sports’

Over scheduled would be the word I try to avoid every fall. With school, starting sports and activities usually, resume making school nights hectic. There are so many great opportunities and it is easy to overbook children with sports and extracurricular activities. Some years we really miss the mark, other years we do better at prioritizing activities and schoolwork.

Like adults, children also need downtime to be at their best. If we want our children to do, their best in school we want to set them up for success in the evenings. Parents need to give children adequate time to complete schoolwork and prepare for the next day. Providing this time in the evening can be tough with multiple children, homework, and activities. Try a few of these suggestions to help with over scheduled school nights:

Child working on homework

1. Make eating dinner a priority. There are many benefits to regular family meals. These include higher self-esteem, better academic performance, lower substance abuse and lower rates of obesity. Sitting together for meals can help increase family unity. Planning a family dinner in the schedule on school nights can help family members slow down, regroup and unwind from the day.

2.     Help children with homework. This can help children do well in school but also this time is beneficial to parents making sure their students are staying up with classwork, and getting adequate time to complete their assignments.

3. The start of each school year is a good time to evaluate the academic, social, physical and emotional needs of each child when it comes to extra activities. Keep in mind that children are unique and their needs will be different. Some children can handle their schoolwork and extracurricular activities without difficulty. Other children may benefit from more time for homework and fewer activities.  

4.     Have an evening routine. Routines are beneficial for keeping families organized. An evening routine could include family dinner, homework time, chores, time for activities and bedtime. Children need different amounts of sleep depending on their age.  Children who do not get enough sleep can struggle academically, and be tired or cranky at school.   

Carefully selecting the right balance of extracurricular activities can be difficult. Parents providing support can be beneficial to children as they try to balance academics, friends, sports and other activities. In the end, academics will be important to your child’s success. Choosing academics over one more activity, or working on a slower evening routine may exactly what a child needs to feel prepared for their next day of school.  

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County.

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County.


“Benefits of Family Dinners.” The Family Dinner Project, https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/about-us/benefits-of-family-dinners/.

College-Homework-Help.org. “Should Parents Help with Homework to Let Their Kids Succeed at School.” Should Parents Help with Homework to Let Their Kids Succeed at School, https://college-homework-help.org/blog/should-parents-help-with-homework.

“Routines for a New School Year.” Live Healthy Live Well, 13 Feb. 2019, https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/08/06/routines-for-a-new-school-year/.

“Signs Your Child Isn’t Sleeping Enough.” Sleep.org, https://www.sleep.org/articles/signs-your-child-isnt-sleeping-enough/.

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School starting makes me think of football, soccer, and other fall sports.  Sports provide benefits in many ways.  They increase physical coordination, fitness, self-esteem, teamwork, and self-discipline. Children and adults can benefits both physically and psychologically from playing sports.

With growing bodies which are still developing coordination, children are more susceptible to sports injuries.  Half of all the sports injuries could be prevented with proper safety gear, sports rules that help prevent injuries, and changes to the playing environment.

What can you do to prevent injuries?

  • Make sure your child is wearing the appropriate safety gear and equipment
  • Check to make sure the playing environment is safe
  • Enforce safety rules or make sure they are being followed.
  • Make sure your child and others are staying hydrated during and after playing.

Safety Gear and Equipment

Make sure your child and others have the sport-specific safety gear they need and make sure they use it.  Make sure the gear fits correctly (mouthguards, pads, helmets).  The equipment should be appropriate for their age and size and be in good working condition.  The playing area should be free form debris and water.

Physical Checkup

It’s important that all children and adults have a physical sports’ checkup before they start to play sports.  These physicals help reveal physical strengths and weaknesses which can help determine which sports are appropriate for your child.

When is a child ready to play sports?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children begin participating in team sports at age 6 or when they understand the concept of teamwork.  Starting a child too young will not benefit the child physically.  Each child is different so base your decision on the following:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Build
  • Physical development
  • Emotional development
  • Child’s interest in the sport

Staying hydrated is important

Sweat lost during sports needs to be replaced with equal amounts of fluids, usually 1 to 1-1/2 liters per hour of intense activity.  When participating in sports you or your child should be drinking fluids before, during, and after each practice or game.  It is best to avoid carbonated drinks and drinks with caffeine.

(Reference: Sports Safety, Ohio State University Medical Center Patient Care materials)

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

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