1. Your child’s interest in participating
While they might not really know if they like something until they try, make sure you gauge interest and not just sign up because your neighbor is or because you really wish you had participated in that sport when you were younger. Know what your child likes and what their strengths are. While sometimes kids surprise us, like my oldest loving long-distance running, sometimes it’s obvious that a certain activity isn’t a fit.
2. The time commitment
How many practices are there a week? What is the game schedule like? How much travel is involved? While you never want to over-schedule even one child, the timing becomes even more critical if you have more than one. I have three kids so I have to figure out if I can feasibly get the kids to all of their different activities. Sometimes carpool is an option but cloning myself (or the kids) is not, so if activities overlap each other, we have to make a choice between them.
3. What are you giving up to participate in this sport?
Similar to knowing the time commitment involved, you need to take a look at what you won’t be able to do if you sign up. Are you losing homework time? Family dinner? Free time for the kids to just be? We have had to give some of this up, but we won’t give it all up, so we have had to decide against certain activities that would push us to the brink of being over-scheduled.
4. The costs involved
Understand all the fees involved in a sport or an activity. Registration fees, monthly/weekly dues, uniforms, equipment. It all adds up. While this isn’t my number one consideration because we’ll figure out a way to make it work if our children have a really strong desire to participate in a sport, it still is something to think about, especially if you have multiple children or even just one child who is participating in multiple sports.
How has your experience with starting sports been for your family?
Shell is a mom to three soccer and basketball-playing karate boys who also run, swim, and want to add more activities to their very busy schedules. She writes for The Soccer Moms, which has tips to help moms juggle life on and off the field, no matter what sport your child plays.