Sports parents can balance athletics and holidays, but it’s not easy. I know, from personal experience. You see, my son is messing up my holidays. Well, he isn’t really, it’s his basketball schedule. My son plays for an elite high school basketball team and they are playing big tournaments out of town for the entire holiday vacation, save Christmas and New Years Day. Three cities. Three tournaments. Three sets of flights. Normally we celebrate Christmas in Milwaukee with my parents, some 90 miles away from our Chicago home, however, my son will be returning from his first tournament on December 24th mid-day. The kicker? He will need to leave for his second tournament on December 26th in the early morning. Then he gets back again on New Years Eve. He will be around until January 2 before he jets off for a third tournament, returning home just in time to go back to school. The easy solution? I could max out my credit cards and follow him around to the tournaments. Oh, but did I mention that I have two other children. Yeah, can you say “Sophie’s Choice?” Okay, maybe it’s not quite that deep, but holidays are a big deal. Our kids are young for such a short period of time. I’m not willing to give up one of the 18 winter holiday breaks I get with them in this lifetime. At least not completely. Therefore, this sports parent is reclaiming this vacation before it gets taken away completely. I can’t do it alone. It will take effort from my entire family, but it’s doable. For you too I bet. Don’t just take my word for it. Here are 9 ways sports parents can balance athletics and holidays..
9 Ways Sports Parents Can Balance Athletics and Holidays 1 of 10
Know The Dates 2 of 10
You can't strike balance if you don't know what you are working with, so the first thing you need to do is open a line of communications with your athlete's coaches and instructors. Get a firm grasp on the calendar. Make sure the people in charge of scheduling know how to reach you in the event of any alterations to the plan. The sooner you know what you are dealing with the sooner you can actually deal with it.
Loop Everyone In 3 of 10
Holidays and vacations often include extended family, like ours does. Make sure you are looping everyone in on the scheduling conflicts. When family gets blindsided emotions can get hot. Avoid any extra holiday drama by including everyone at the big table, including the kids. You never know, one of them may have a brilliant suggestion that could be the answer to your predicament. Crowdsource a solution!
Make It A Family Affair 4 of 10
If your kid can't be with you, then you go to them. That's my fantasy, to take take my parents, my niece and my girls to Florida or Oregon to cheer my son on and grab some family vacation at the same time. To me that would solve a lot of issues and take some pressure off of all of us, especially my son. Remember they are going to be stressed out trying to be and do all things for themselves and everyone else.
Don’t Be Afraid To Celebrate Outside The Box 5 of 10
One idea on our drawing table is to celebrate our immediate family Christmas early. Just move the holiday to a day when we know all of the kids are available. It's about family not about the date on the calendar.
Plan For Friends 6 of 10
In your panic to make sure that you have all of your family bases covered it can be easy to forget that your athlete has needs too. Don't forget to budget in time for them to spend with their friends. Throw a party, plan a movie outing, have a group of them meet your athlete at the airport as a surprise welcome back. Your child will appreciate the inclusion.
New Item 7 7 of 10
Just like it's easy to forget your childs' friends it's easy to forget to build in some 'downtime". The repercussions of such an omission is illness and or injury. That will really throw your plans into a tailspin. Avoid that by planning to rest.
Plan For Weather 8 of 10
One thing I am hyper aware of for this upcoming vacation is that the weather may muck up my carefully constructed plans. Midwest living in Winter. I know the drill. That's one of the reasons I am pushing to have the family travel with m,y son to his tournament just before Christmas. If the weather throws in a delay then at least we would all be together. But that fantasy may be to cost prohibitive for me without an underwriter. Therefore, I will just have to be prepared to be flexible and let the snow fall as it may.
Stay Connected 9 of 10
Situations like this make me want to kiss the ground and thank the technology Gods. If I am not able to bring my fantasy to life and have our whole family follow my son like basketbal groupies we don't have to feel disconnected. Have Skype will connect. And with trounamanets thaer are often live feeds, ltelecasts and twitter chatter for sports parents to tap into so they don't feel so disjointed from their athlete.Likewise we can create videos, send texts nad posts that will let our athlete know that they may be out of sight but they are never out of mind.
Accept It 10 of 10
It will be hard to come up with any creative problem solving when you are preoccupied with anger and frustration about the situation. You need to let go and accept reality. Then you will be able to apply all of your brain power towards crafting a plan to save the holidays.
This is my plan, but it is not set in stone. I would love to hear from fellow sports parents out there. Let’s crowdsource a good solution and reclaim our children’s vacations, or at least a piece of them, for our own.
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