Our 5th season as rugby parents has just come to a close, and with that our washing machine, gumboots, weekday evenings and Saturday mornings breathe a collective sigh of relief!
Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE rugby, but it’s a big commitment at J1 level – and the commitment is required by the whole family, not just Ethan.
In terms of wins, it wasn’t the greatest season for the team. In terms of intangible personal growth and the cementing of lifelong friendships for both players and their parents (I hope!) – it was a cracker season.
That’s the beauty of sport. For boys Ethan’s age, (those navigating the notoriously up-and-down pre-teen Chasm of Angst) having an outlet that is theirs is a must. They need to be able to forget about who they are ‘supposed’ to be at school or at home, forget about the pressure of growing up while still feeling like a little boy at times and simply focus on a single ball – without the distractions of homework, chores and devices.
Sport can be an amazing respite for both growing minds and parents alike!
Things I’ve learnt about Saturday Sports
- It doesn’t matter which sport it is, it’s ALL good. Sports code snobbery exists to some degree, other parents will tell you up and down that soccer/rugby/hockey is the absolute BEST sport for EVERY kid. Ignore. The best sport is the one your child enjoys! Ethan played 2 seasons of soccer before transitioning to rugby and enjoyed every second of it.
- You can only be *THAT* parent for so long before your loud, bad attitude gets you kicked off the field and your kid is embarrassed by your sideline coaching/bullying. Just don’t go there guys!
- Tired kids can’t hang. It’s so tempting to throw bedtimes out the door on Friday night, but it might pay to reconsider how late you let your little athlete stay up. Kids enjoy their activities so much more when they are full of energy and can give 100%.
- You’re going to get cold and wet. Really wet. Always keep a large umbrella in your car and expect game time to be colder than you think.
- Kids playing field sports will get muddier than you can possibly imagine. Keep a plastic bin in the car for muddy boots and gear and wrap kids up on old towels for the ride home.
- Just like their mates Tired Kids, Hungry Kids struggle to get up and at ‘em on the sports field. Make time for breakfast before the game, even if it means cutting your Saturday sleep-in a bit short (I’ve heard sleeping in exists but it’s a total myth in my house lol). Also be prepared for ravenous kids after the match. Pack some easily portable, nutritious snacks such as nuts, fruit, vege sticks plus plenty of water. Pro-Tip: a warm thermos of MILO will do wonders for chilled hands and tummies plus has a 4.5 star health rating!
Choosing wellness for ourselves and our families is something that we all consider (and are reminded of constantly!) but honestly, sometimes it becomes difficult to prioritize and can seem really overwhelming, especially when you’re doing the parenting juggling act!
Implementing one small change at a time can help make lasting differences. For example, using the points above, focus on earlier bedtimes for the whole family (Mum and Dad included!) one week, try working on better – more relaxed/more nutritious/less stressy breakfasts the following week.
For more inspiration and lots of tips to help you make small, positive changes in your life take the Nestlé Choose Wellness Quiz here.
Win with Nestle!
If you would like to win an amazing Nestlé Prize Pack valued at $150, share a small change you’d like to make in the comments below. NZ residents only, competition closes 15/10/16. For a second chance to enter visit click here > Winter Rugby – Our Kiwi Saturday Morning Ritual
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