For student-athletes heading back to school, the ordeal is a family affair. From manic mornings around the house, coordinating schedules, and shifting routines from summer-mode to school-mode, it takes a village. And it’s not easy. Going back to school can be an unexpectedly emotional time for both parents and students. The end of a great summer can feel sad. The start of a new school year can be overwhelming. The high school journey is absolutely a fun and exciting one, but it’s also a wild ride!
Yet even the most independent student can need help. Take a peek at four simple ways parents role in back to school can help student-athletes’ transition into a smooth school year.
Keep a family calendar.
With iPhones, iPads, and all the other gadgets in between, we tend to lose sight of the value in simply putting pen to paper these days. Keeping a written family schedule in an easily accessible place will not only help your student-athlete stay on track, but is a great way for moms and dads to stay on track, too. Family members can add their own events to the calendar, (for instance, your student-athlete can add their practice and game schedule to the calendar on a weekly basis).
This way, everyone is on the same page, while taking individual responsibility for their commitments. And it doesn’t have to be fancy! A simple printable calendar template, or a dry erase board with an outlined month, works. A visible and organized schedule can really go a long way in keeping your busy family on the same page.
Ask the right questions.
“How was school today?” –Fine. “How was practice today?” –Good. “Do you have homework?” –No.
Does any of this sound familiar? If you’re sick of getting one-word answers from your student-athlete, think about re-phrasing when and how you’re asking questions. Chances are, the minute they walk in the door from a long day is not going to illicit the best response. Offer a warm greeting while allowing your student-athlete to decompress. Eating together – or, if they’re home late, sitting with them while they eat – is a good time to get in a little discussion.
Using phrases that begin with words like, “Tell me about…” or “I’ve been wondering…” will automatically set you up for more detailed responses.
It’s also worth noting that while communication is key, and it’s of utmost importance to be in touch with your son or daughter and how they’re progressing, if it has been a long day, and your student-athlete just doesn’t seem in the mood to divulge, a little space can go a long way.
Your son or daughter is not always going to ace the test. They are not always going to have a goal in the game. There will be times their words or behavior disappoints you as a parent.
For both your sakes, when this happens, take some time to remind yourself that you are the adult, and you have to stay positive both in your thoughts and the way you express yourself to your student-athlete. It’s not being overly optimistic or idealistic, positive thoughts and words turn into positive actions.
Chances are, your student-athlete is much harder on themself then you could ever be on them. Keep the train moving forward with an upbeat, can-do attitude, and I guarantee it will rub off on your household.
And one last note? Never underestimate the power of a hug.
Of course, the parents role in back to school extends to college recruiting, as well. That’s where we can help. To talk about your child’s options as a college-bound athlete, the best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.