Volume 20, Issue 3 | September 15, 2020
Support for Parents
Our role as parents is to love our children, provide for their basic needs and attend to their whole development. This includes their physical, emotional, moral and spiritual health. As we head into a school year that is unlike anything we have experienced, Play Like a Champion has compiled tools and expert advice to support parents in their efforts to provide for children in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider these tips:
LOVE 
Parents can express love for your children every day with words and actions. Embrace them in a hug. Use the words, “I love you.” Particularly in days that are full of uncertainty, we all need affirmation and encouragement.
 
PHYSICAL MOVEMENT
With organized sports still significantly affected or paused in many communities, it's important that parents keep children moving each day. Exercise is good for the body, mind and soul - both for your child and for yourself. Get moving together as a family. Visit the Active Kids page on Play Like a Champion's website for ideas and resources from across the internet. Select an activity that your entire family will enjoy and line-up friendly competitions among your family members.
EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
We are all still struggling with disruptions to our normal routines. Children rely on routines constructed by others to help them feel safe and to know what comes next. Both school and sports play a significant role in the lives of children, with changes to the norm likely to cause a variety of difficult feelings and issues for both parents and children. These can include anxiety, fear, behavioral issues, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, testing limits and meltdowns. As parents, acknowledge these feelings are real. Avoid saying, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” Help your children to express how they are feeling by having regular family discussions about feelings, normalizing their existence.
MORAL PURPOSE
Work to find meaning during this difficult period of time. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also many stories of people sacrificing and supporting one another in amazing ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with hopeful information and find a way your family can contribute to the good amidst the challenge.
 
SPIRITUAL HEALTH, DAILY GRATITUDE & LAUGHTER
As a family, make time every day to pray together and to read scripture or another spiritual reading as a family. Additionally, take time every evening as a family to express gratitude. Expressing daily gratitude for the blessings that we have will remind us where goodness and God’s grace exist. Finally, remember to incorporate laughter into your family’s daily routine.
SET GOALS
Goal setting is an important part of the Play Like a Champion approach and can be a terrific way to stay active in the current environment. Consider downloading a simple Weekly Goal Worksheet (right) and working together to set and achieve both family and individual goals. Remember to set physical, mental, moral and spiritual goals, then set a time to check-in each week as a family and see how you're doing. This practice can create a positive experience and help everyone stay strong in the midst of COVID-19.
Additional Resources
Play Like a Champion has created additional resources that may be of special interest for parents. A special worshop titled Parent Like a Champion: Support and Resources for COVID-19 is available to view online by clicking the link. The video features tips for handling stress, getting kids moving and practicing mindfulness. With many parents facing the overwhelming prospect of working at home (or facing job loss) while parenting, teaching and coaching their kids, this resource can provide a welcomed source of comfort and tools for managing the challenges faced.
In addition, this past summer Play Like a Champion hosted our first ever Virtual Summer Camps. These camps featured an all-star lineup of youth, high school and college coaches providing sport-specific training, cardio-focused fitness, character development and mindfulness exercises designed to improve mental performance. Miss the camp? You can get access to recorded sessions of 60-90 minutes each by emailing Play Like a Champion and requesting access. It's a great way to keep kids active if they aren't able to attend school or play organized sports this fall.
A Prayer for Parents
September 15th is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Catholic Church. The feast commemorates the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, inviting us to reflect on these sufferings and find consolation in her faithfulness, her great trust in God, and her compassion for her son. As parents in today's world, let us entrust ourselves to Mary and seek to imitate her faithfulness in the midst of our own difficulty and sufferings.

"May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, be also mother of the domestic church. Through her maternal help, may every Christian family truly become a little church which reflects and relives the mystery of the Church of Christ. May you who are the servant of the Lord, be our example of a humble and generous welcome of the will of God! You who are the mother of sorrows at the foot of the cross, be there to lighten our loads, and wipe away the tears of those afflicted by family difficulties. May Christ the Lord, King of the Universe, King of families, be present, as at Cana, in every Christian home, to communicate his light, joy, serenity, and strength. May every family generously add its share to the coming of his kingdom on earth. To Christ and to you, Mary, we entrust our families. Amen."

~ A Prayer by Saint John Paul II


Find more than 300 prayers for coaches, athletes, teams and sports parents by visiting Play Like a Champion's Prayer Resources at www.playlikeachampion.org/prayer.
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