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6 tips to ensure a successful summer sports season for your child

Here is a list of dos to help ensure your child has a safe and positive experience during summer activities.

The school year is quickly coming to an end! Here is my list of dos to help ensure your child has a safe and positive experience during summer activities.

DO start training for your child's activity early! If your child plans to join a swim team over the summer, get them swimming a few times a week now to best prepare them for the season. If they plan to join a running club, don't wait until the session starts, get moving now! By adding in at least three days each week of proper training and conditioning leading up to the start of the season will help reduce the risk of injury, build up endurance for long training sessions, and help your child feel more prepared and confident going into the season.

DO attend any pre-activity information and training sessions. Many sports or active activities will have an information session or training session prior to the start of the season. It is important to attend these sessions to help make sure you are properly equipped for the coming season. In many information sessions proper safety equipment needed is reviewed, where to purchase, and how to make sure your child is properly fitted for all safety equipment is also often reviewed. This is also usually a good time to ask any questions about your child's safety or participation in the activity.

DO pack water with your child and appropriate clothing. Sometimes activities and sports will have water available, but not always. It is a good idea to send along one or even two water bottles to help your child stay hydrated before, during, and after activity. Over the summer this is especially important when the heat index is at its highest.  Wearing lightweight loose-fitting clothing lighter in color will help to keep your child cooler during activity. Any "moisture wicking" clothing is a great option for hotter days.

DO have a check list to go over each day before leaving the house. It is easy to leave something behind during a morning rush.

  1. Safety gear needed for activity (such as mouth guard and shin guards) and proper foot wear (cleats, sneakers)

  2. Water bottle

  3. Emergency contact information written on a piece of paper. This may already be on file, but this will make it faster to get if needed.

  4. Any medications that may be needed during activity such as inhaler or Epipen

  5. Small snack such as a piece of fruit or a granola bar

  6. Extra change of clothing incase needed

DO encourage your child to participate in warm ups and cool downs before and after sport or activity. For some activities this may mean trying your best to get to practices on time so that your child gets the full time to warm up. This also may mean staying until the end of the practice to ensure your child gets a proper cool down.

DO encourage your child to speak up if they ever feel pain such as knee pain, chest pain, or headache while participating in activity or if they have any questions about proper technique while learning a new skill. It is important that coaches develop an open line of communication and players feel comfortable approaching the coach with any concerns. Check in with your child on their comfort level approaching their coaches and emphasizing that they are there for support will be important information to relay to your child before starting an activity.

Remember you know your child best. If you have any concerns regarding your child's health or wellness during the season – talk with your child's primary care doctor. If you have any concerns throughout the duration of your child's sport – talk with your child's coach or activity leader. Addressing any concerns early on will ensure that your child has a happy and healthy season!