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Sports can be part of summer fun

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Remember that old saying, "Time flies when you're having fun." It also flies when you're busy, too!
Last week I talked about things to do with and for your kids to keep them busy. I thought I'd add a few more to the list this week.
One thing I didn't mention last week was sports. I admit it can be rather expensive depending on the sport, but it is so good for our kids to work together for a common goal, learn about following rules (that's for the little ones), fair play, good sportsmanship, and other things as well.
Because we have six kids in our family, I usually limit them to one sport per season. I will occasionally let them sign up for a second sport that overlaps the first one by a couple of weeks, but other than that its just too hard to manage.
It really takes the fun out of the activity if you're constantly in a rush to make games, meets, or whatever. We also have the rule that once you sign up then you have to play out the season. I believe that teaches responsibility and commitment.
At this point I want to brag a bit. We have one child in softball this year.
This is her first year and she's in the "Sweeties" league. I have been very impressed with the coaches and parents behavior at the games I have attended (which is all but one).
On numerous occasions, I have seen the coaches help out a child from the other team such as positioning them properly at the plate, tying their shoe, or whatever.
This sends the message that we are competing with this team, but they're still our friends.
Also, I know there has been occasions that one of the coaches didn't agree with the umpire's call, but the coach has just quietly walked up to the umpire and talked to them privately.
In all honesty, I don't think the kids even noticed.
Our parents have also set excellent examples for great sportsmanship.
When my oldest was 9 or 10 she played goalie for her soccer team. We were in a rather heated soccer game and she dived onto the ball to stop a goal.
The woman sitting next to me screamed (and I mean screamed), "Kick her in the face, Kick her in the face!!" I looked at her and replied, "That's my daughter you're telling your daughter to "kick in the face." She had this total look of shock on her face.
I don't know if it was because she hadn't realized what she had said, or if she just couldn't believe I would say anything to her! She didn't apologize, but she was quieter for the rest of the game. So you can see that I am very pleased to have parents that behave the way parents should!
One problem I have noticed doesn't have anything to do with the game, the players, the coaches, or the parents. It's the younger siblings in our family. You see, that concession stand is just irresistible for my kids. It has so much yummy stuff that we don't normally have at home. Due to this little fact last year, I was constantly hearing, "Momma, can I have a dollar?", "Mom can I have just fifty cents?", etc. I had to come up with a better plan. This year I started giving the kids $5 a week. This is also subject to behavior the week before. Anyway, that's their spending money for the week. They can spend it at games, swimming meets, the pool, or how ever they want. They can also save it to buy something else. It has worked extremely well.
There are many other things to do during summer break with our kids. A few are: check out books from the library, gardening, local festivals, inviting friends over, camping in the back yard, real camping, hiking, swimming, playing with chalk on the concrete, washing the car (kids love this – but don't expect perfection!), making homemade ice cream (you don't have to have a ice cream maker – write or e-mail for recipe), etc. Another idea is to pick out a favorite animal and learn all you can about it by reading books and researching it on the internet, then plan a day to go see one at the zoo.
There are endless things to do with our kids; remember the key work is "with." If you work outside the home, there are little things you can do after work like making a little indoor herb garden or going to the park on the weekends. Just remember they're only this age once. (Thank goodness, I don't think I could live through more than one set of teen years per child!!)
I hope you have a terrific summer! If you have a question, tip, or suggestion for Mom's Corner please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640; or e-mail