“Hi, Melissa. I love your Mom Talk column each week, and I have a battle of my own at our house. I was wondering what you might think.
My son wants to play two sports this season. He is really into baseball, but some of his friends from school are also playing soccer. I asked him to pick just one, but his dad thinks it is OK to play two different sports at one time. My son is only 8, so I feel like sports nearly every night of the week, on top of going to school, is going to be overwhelming for him. How much do you think is too much?”
Lynn M., of Collegeville
Thanks for the question, Lynn. I’m glad you are reading and enjoying our Mom Talk weekly feature. I’ll lend you my two cents on the matter of sports.
First, I think it is only fair to give my background so you know where I am coming from with my advice. I played for sports from elementary school age up to college. I balanced volleyball, basketball, track and softball, along with my school work and a number of other extracurricular activities such as band, drama, and working on the yearbook and newspaper.
I liked being that busy, but the busiest those sports were happened in high school, when I feel I was more prepared for such an onslaught of responsibilities. However, like nearly any parenting rule, there isn’t a set-in-stone law that all children will fit into to.
Instead, you have to weigh what your individual child can handle.
Even within a household, I don’t think you can have a solid age or rule. One child may love playing a sport every season, while another could care less about any athletics.
Instead of a rule, I’d recommend trying it out. In our house, we allow our son to play only one sport at a time. He is 5, so I think a half-day kindergarten schedule is easy to handle for him in particular with one sport. If school, however, involves a more intense workload for your child, with nights of homework and extra projects, it may be difficult to handle any single activity.
If your husband and son both feel like he can handle it, give him the chance to try. Be there to support him no matter the outcome, but let him give it his best shot to make it work.
If you notice he isn’t cutting it in the classroom or feels exhausted when he gets home each night, let him stop his least favorite sport. It isn’t the end of the world, and you may be out a sign-up fee, but it is worth it to let your child find out on his own what he can and cannot handle in his daily schedule.
Again, there is no hard fast rule that will work for every child, but allow your children to explore their world, find their interests and settle into their own routines.
Of course, as with everything we do as moms, just be there to lend a helping hand, no matter what!
Good luck, Lynn. I hope you son enjoys whatever activities he takes on!