Where are we tonight? 

School’s well underway, Autumn is here and the afterschool and sports clubs have started! I know I’m back into full swing with Brownies, Dance, Gymnastics and Archery on the agenda in our house. Whether it’s choir, chess, baking or basketball, it’s good to get them involved.

It’s easy for children spend large amounts of time indoors, using technology (I know myself, sometimes it’s an easy option). Sports provide an opportunity for exercise, keeping them healthy, developing improved hand-eye co-ordination and better balance. Praise and encouragement from coaches and parents builds confidence and they learn to trust in their own abilities, I’ve seen my little one flourish in gymnastics…even if I now must witness dangerous moves being performed in the living room whilst trying to watch Corrie!

Sports help children interact with their peers, but also coaches, improving communication and leadership skills. Being part of a team encourages youngsters to think of others and if it’s outside of school, widens their circle of friends. Having a few extra friends helps lessen the dramatics of typical childhood-fallouts, it allows the little one to have a break from friends at school but still feel like they have another solid group of friends. 

Less sporty clubs like choir or drama may foster a talent in your child you didn’t know was there. Sometimes less academic children really benefit from this, finding something they excel at can be a real boost. Whether its Brownies or Boys Brigade, book club or basket weaving, get them involved- it can give you an hour to yourself on a Monday night!!

Speaking as someone whose Saturday mornings consisted of dropping off at rugby, straight to ballet then dropping the last one at horse riding , then straight back to pick up from rugby, it can get a bit hectic. Having four children that took part in anything and everything (synchronised swimming and fencing not exempt) I’ve got a few tips of practicality that I’ve picked up:

Does the time fit- can you get them there every week? Commitment is on both halves. 

Can you afford it, plus any equipment needed? Comp fees, kits, uniforms, shoes…you name it, they will probably need it!

Does your child really have an interest in this? (Just because you were in Brownies/ Ballet, doesn’t mean your daughter might want to join)

Don’t overload yourselves, some downtime is good, don’t commit to something every night because a tired child is something no one wants to be blessed with (been there, done that, got the t shirt!)

Have the sports kit or equipment ready the night before. I sometimes keep it in the car, that way if my day changes and I end up going straight to an activity, we’re prepared.

If you are dropping off and picking up an hour later, plan to be productive with that time, else you could find yourself driving home for 40 minutes, to turn back around again. Plan a coffee with a friend, walk a couple of laps of the park, catch up on a book…

Don’t force the issue, if your child doesn’t feel like going, encourage them, especially if it is a team activity, but ultimately if it’s not for them, let the club know and find something else.

Have fun!

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