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This spring, my wife and I looked at our schedule for our two kids and realized that 60 of our next 75 days had some sort of practice or game. As a parent, a coach, a former athlete, and someone who works in the youth sports tech business, I asked myself… is this healthy for my kids or my family?
I grew up in the Bronx, NY and my friends and I would walk outside my building at a young age and just go play. No carpool, no scheduled practice, no organization. We just figured it out. While there are definitely negatives to over-scheduling our kids, I’m going to encourage everyone reading this blog to focus on the other side of the coin. By scheduling our kids, and therefore ourselves as parents, to join teams, activities, and clubs, our children are learning valuable life lessons that will follow them for the rest of their lives. This increased participation provides greater structure, increased discipline, better organization, and in my opinion, the best way to learn teamwork, social, and life skills.
For the reasons listed above, this seemingly never ending schedule of games, practices, and activities are crucial for children’s growth and maturation. I also recognize that this overscheduling is an instant in time and something that will come and then go. As my older brother with two grown kids tells me, I’ll look back at this hectic time and miss these memories so I should just embrace it. My goal is to capture and savor every moment.
Rich Abend is a sports dad, coach and the Co-Founder and CEO of Spotlight, the first technology company to focus on organizing and enhancing the content around youth sports activities and events. He is also a board member of Action For Healthy Kids, a Chicago-based organization that helps every kid get healthy, active and ready to learn.