Teaching children responsibility, SCOUTjr.com

Teaching children responsibility through sports. Parenting young athletes SCOUTjr.com

Sports provides opportunities for kids to become more responsible.

In many ways, teaching children responsibility is easier through sports than daily life.

Think about it…

Is it easier to get your kid to” do the laundry” or “make sure your uniform is clean for the game”

“Clean up the mudroom” or “organize your sports gear so you’re ready for tomorrow”

“Wash your shoes” or “get the mud off your cleats so you can grip the field”

We’re not going to lie….

Weekday wake ups are tough around here. Our kid doesn’t wake up on her own, nor do we. We’ve spoken to other parents and we’re not alone.  So you would think that an alarm clock in her room is the answer, but we haven’t gone that route. Instead, day after day, we wake her up. It’s the way our parents did it and we’re ok with it. Sure, we can catch an attitude sometimes but it’s also nice to get a smile or hug first thing in the morning.  If you’re wondering how much sleep your child should be getting, here are some guidelines.

On the weekends, we’ve taken to providing a time for when we need to leave by in order to get to the game and putting her  “in charge” of packing up and departing. That way, she learns the concept of time and how to use it.

Here are some of our other tips:

Warning: this child is over scheduled. Do not duplicate at home.


From a very young age, I played with my beloved blackboard. When my mom moved, she asked if I wanted it and I declined. I was living in an apartment at the time and to this day I regret the decision.

So when my daughter got her first blackboard / white board, I started writing out our daily schedule and priorities so that the family was on the same page.

Sure, now that she’s older she can use the calendar on her phone but I’ve found that it’s still more effective to have a board where she can see what’s going on. Recently a friend surprised me with a blackboard that she made for me and it’s become a great base for the family to know what’s going on or what needs to be done.

At the younger ages, going over a schedule helps kids learn how to tell time and judge it.

As they get older, kids learn to look at their schedule and plan accordingly.

A blackboard is no substitute for reminders!  A good parent gives a heads up 5-10 minutes before anything is due, possibly two!

Our Pick: The Speedo swim bag is tops for its organization and durability.


As parents of a multi sport athlete, preparation is really, really important. Every sport has its own bag…and our kid is in charge of what goes in it, or not. All of the bags are kept in the same area, so nothing can go missing. Laundered items are placed back in or near the appropriate bag.

$$$ ALERT: If you know me, you know I don’t like spending a lot of money on things that won’t be used often. There are two items that I swear by: a large swim bag and a soccer bag.


Because these two bags are very specialized, with compartments for specific items.

For example, a swim bag has space for fins, kick board, towels and a change of clothes, goggles, a wet bag and water bottle. We recommend the large size because your kids feet WILL grow and the larger fins don’t fit in the smaller bag.

Soccer bags also offer compartmentalized storage, with space for a soccer ball, uniform, dirty cleats, shin guards and a water bottle. We really couldn’t imagine these items mixed together in one bag…it would be really gross, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

We use a regular backpack for lacrosse, though if your child plays travel this may be a good investment.

Bags like these make great holiday gifts and lost many years. For other gift ideas for kids, Check out these fun suggestions.


We believe in clean uniforms. In our neighborhood, goose poop is a problem, so it’s really important that uniforms are cleaned after every practice or game. As kids get older their bodies change and so does their perspiration. Sometimes kids don’t catch on about deodorant, showering, etc., but a dirty uniform is a dead giveaway.

This is a great habit to get in to so that your kid can avoid having a stinky uniform come game day (and trust us, the kids DO talk about it).

For younger kids, have them take off their uniform and put it in the laundry room or the area where you keep your dirty laundry.

Older kids (usually older than 10 years old) can be responsible for washing their own uniform. Does this mean that they have to wash it the moment they get home? No. But we do not recommend waiting til the last minute.  Once the uniform is clean, place it in the sport appropriate bag, or in a sports specific zone.

Off topic, but did you know that if you search for a photo of kids + laundry, results show a lot of pictures of females…not so many males.


There’s only so many times you can tell your kids that they must do what they say they’re going to do before they tune out. I always say, “Do what you say, say what you do.” Many parents don’t.

Sports, particularly team sports, provides parents with the opportunity to teach the concept of commitment.

Two examples that hit close to home are showing up to play even though it’s raining or conditions are uncomfortable, and committing to your team.

It’s easy to sleep in or decide not to make it to the rainy game. But a better lesson is to go. Because…

…you said you were going to

…the other kids are counting on you

…you can’t let your team down

…there aren’t enough players without you

All of these messages help your child learn that commitment is an important part of life.

You know what else they’ll notice? They’ll notice when other kids aren’t committed. And when they do, it’s a great opportunity to reinforce what “type” of kid your child is. Because we’ve learned that while typecasting kids as bad or dangerous is not good, voicing a good quality is great.

Teaching kids responsibility takes time, but sports provides opportunities for kids to develop important life skills. From scheduling to preparation and commitment, kids can learn important life skills…try some of these ideas and let us know how they work for your family.


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