Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Keep your Family Team Cheering: Little siblings on the sidelines

 Little Gracie asked today "why do we have to go to the game?" 

It can get tiring to be on the sidelines hour after hour watching your parents cheer for your big brothers.  So I took the opportunity to tell her how much I love watching all of them do the things they love to do.  I reinforced that as a family we support one another.  I pointed out how nice it is to be outside in good weather.   Lucky for us there are other little siblings on the sidelines each game and these kids are so great to play with.  Having a larger family than most, we also have built-in playmates. But even on the best days it can be tough.  If you have older kids then they can stay at home for some games, but this works less well with little ones!

If you have your own little kids on the sidelines, 
here are some ideas to make those games run smoothly from the cheering section.

1 - Pack a bag for the kids.  Keep some special and favorite things aside for them that they only take too games.  Pick up some dollar store coloring books that are just for the bag.   Bubbles make a great addition too for kids of any age as does a beach ball (when the kids have ample space). Pacifiers, diapers, wipes etc. are all essential of course.  I forgot some of this recently and listened to "I want my paci" until half-time.  Not a good move.

2 - Give them a blanket on which to play.  This helps contain the contents of the bag and also helps center their play.  If they don't have grass to play in it is a lifesaver.   If they get bored it can also double as a tent when there are bleachers and generally helps prevent some of the ants and itching.

3 - Keep them comfortable.  Keep them shaded, fed, sun screened, hydrated and well bundled if cold.  If they are uncomfortable they will surely let you know - all hour long.  If you are out all day, bring food for them to eat during the game.  It will occupy them while you watch the game.

4 - Plan ahead.  When you get to the field, take them to the restroom, instruct them on the boundaries/rules, help them set up.  Tell them that you are there to see the game and they can play, but just like at home they need to follow the rules (i.e. no fighting, stay off the field) and let you watch.

5- Be realistic.  Reward them for good behavior, but don't act as if having them play for an hour is an unreasonable request.  Kids should be able to play at a park without complaining!  Tell them that you will take them to the swings at half-time or at the end of the game if it is convenient.  Bring a special snack for them too if the team typically gives these out.  It shows that you appreciate their patience but it isn't a big deal.  If it is a tournament weekend them consider bringing a tablet or something extra fun for them to do in between games during all the downtime.  Expecting little kids to tune in to the games 100% of the time is just not realistic.

We are gearing up for 6-8 games this weekend, so I will be taking my own advice while looking forward to the time when I can possibly leave some of the kids behind!  Good Luck and thanks for stoping by!
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