The University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center Associate Director Nicole LaVoi and Research Assistant Alyssa Norris have released a cutting-edge report on parent perception of how much youth sport interferes with family time. In the report they look at factors such as how sports affects meal time, sleep, homework, family time, vacations, and religious commitments.
I say youth sports can interfere with family time, however, the benefits my children receive from participating in youth sports are just as important as the benefits they receive from sitting together around the table eating dinner.
My kids have some sports activities they do on their own and then they all swim on the same summer swim team. This gives them opportunities for independence and opportunities to work together and support each other on the same team.
They get time with each parent on their own depending on the schedule for the week and let me tell you, one on one time with your child is precious. You have a captive audience and so do they. I can’t tell you how many really important conversations have been had on the way to or from a swim practice or a gymnastics meet.
As far as homework time goes – I think doing sports teaches a really important life skill – time management. All three of my kids have good grades and get homework done with little to no prompting. All of their schedules leave ample time to do homework – whether it is before or after practice.
Overall, I think our kids would agree that youth sports are a positive part of their lives that have led to better friendship opportunities, taught them skills they can apply in school (like don’t give up, be patient, how to work with others, etc), and given them each something different to excel at (as well as something they can all do together).
Thanks to the Tucker Center for taking the time to research Youth Sports and Family Time.
I’d love to hear how youth sports affects your family time!