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.
- 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.