Volume 21, Issue 3 | September 14, 2021
Establishing Predictability and Routine is Important for Children
For Young Athletes, Sense of Stability is a Key to Success
As our children return to school and sports this fall with COVID-19 still a very real concern, many parents are likely feeling some level of stress or anxiety. Play Like a Champion is here to walk along with you, offering advice and helpful tips for parents in the coming year. This week, we want to introduce you to a fantastic organization formed this past year to assist parents in the challenges of parenting in our world today. Pandemic Parenting (https://www.pandemic-parent.org/) is a free web platform created as a result of research on the impact of the pandemic on children and parents mental health by two psychologists, scholars and moms to share science-based information and resources for parents and those who work with children. We're thrilled to partner with them to provide excellent resources for sports parents.

One of the co-founders, Dr. Amanda Zelochowski delivered a compelling presentation at our June Sports Leadership Conference. In the video above, she shares practical advice for focusing on predictability as a family, establishing routines with your kids in order to reduce stress as the school year (and sports season) begins. 

Helpful Steps: 

  • Ensure children feel safe and loved
  • Spend predictable time together as a family
  • Create routine wherever possible
  • Empower your kids by cooperating as a family to make decisions that eliminate the fear of the unknown
  • Reduce power struggles by decreasing kids fatigue and hunger
  • Have regular “check-in’s” about the routine
  • Be flexible and willing to switch up the routine if it isn’t working

Developing a routine will have benefits for your child's athletic development as well. Routines have long been an integral part of the recipe for successful teams and athletes; when preparation for a practice or game becomes routine, athletes can focus their energy on the task at hand. At elite levels, coaches often go to great lengths to simulate the game day atmosphere while rehearsing specific situations during practice. If the athlete views game situations as predictable, it decreases stress and helps them to maximize performance. A young athlete who feels the surrounding world is safe and loving is free to focus on his/her activity, enjoying each moment while giving his/her best effort.

As Dr. Zelechoski notes in the video, the ROSE – THORN – BUD Technique from Dr. Angela Evans is a good way to regularly check in with your kids and build their agency. We value this approach and encourage you to use it with your child:

  • ROSE: Something positive that happened that day
  • THORN: A challenge your child experienced and where your child needs support
  • BUD: Something they are looking forward to in the day(s) ahead

Following these steps will increase communication with your family while establishing routine to reduce the fear of the unknown and build your children’s personal agency. Instead of viewing challenges as obstacles, together as a family you can tackle them with confidence.
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ~ 2 Peter 3:8-9
The Children's Bill of Rights in Sports
Play Like a Champion is a strong proponent of the impact that sports can have on children across the country and believer that all children have the right to play sports in our schools and communities. That's why we are proud supporters of the Children's Bill of Rights in Sports, a new resource from the Aspen Institute's Project Play initiative. With endorsements from some of the biggest names and organizations in youth sports, the Bill of Rights is composed of 8 core "rights" that each child should have in sports, including access to play, qualified (trained) leaders, and ownership over the experience. We encourage all parents and coaches to click the link below and take a look, then share this with others. Our kids deserve to play in a positive, fun and developmentally appropriate youth sports environment. Together, we can stand-up and demand these basic rights from all those who offer youth sports.
A Prayer for Sports Parents
Lord, give me the eyes to see you in my children, your heart to love them and your gentleness to help them grow. Give me your wisdom to guide them and your strength when I need to let them go. Amen.
Play Like a Champion's "Daily Prayers for Champions" page has been updated! Visit www.playlikeachampion.org/daily-prayers for more than 200 prayers plus resources that can help you and your team grow closer to God while participating in sports.
Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series
PO Box 72, Notre Dame, IN 46556 | information@playlikeachampion.org