Extra-Curricular Exasperation: Keeping Calm During Your Kid’s Competition Weekend

Competition weekends can be horrifying for parents. You aren’t just dealing with stress—you’re dealing with the stress of your child and possibly an entire team. Regardless of whether you are ferrying your children to sporting or performance events or even debate competitions, the weekend can be a whirlwind of forgotten bags, crying children and unexpected expenses. If you want to make these weekends a little more bearable, try following the advice below.

Focus on the Fun

Start by remembering that competition weekends really are supposed to be fun. They’re a time for your child to put his or her skills to the test, which should be a great deal of fun for you to watch as well as a source of pride. Don’t worry about winning or losing for the moment—think about how cool it is to be able to see your child compete in front of other people. Take in the moments as they come and step away from the myriad worries you have to deal with. Make sure to take pictures!

Get (Really) Organized

Organization can solve all kinds of little problems. If your child is dancing, make sure that you have the competition dance bags packed the night before with his or her costumes, accessories, and other performance items. For sporting and other events, pack a duffle with uniforms, snacks, water, and shoes. For other events, prepare a bag of all the extra supplies you might need. A sewing kit, extra snacks, and medication can all make a huge difference on the day of the competition so ensure that you have them all on hand. If you can get prepared, you can avoid some of the disaster scenarios that bring down your weekends.

Put the Kid First

Take a few moments to step back and realize that you’re really just there as a support. No matter what your role—coach or audience member—you are there for your child. No matter what you’re feeling or how rough the weekend might be, take the time to talk to your child and tell him or her how proud you are of his or her competitive spirit. Sometimes all you need to lift your spirits is to do the same for your child.

Plan to Decompress

Finally, make plans to decompress right after competition weekend. If you work, take the day after the competition off. If you can’t minimize your interactions with other people, do everything you can to ensure that you can take at least a few hours for yourself. Competition weekend can be incredibly exhausting for any parent, so make sure that you give yourself permission to take a break when you’re done.

You really can make it through competition weekend without having a meltdown. Focus on why you’re there, get yourself organized well enough to avoid emergencies, and allow yourself to put your attention on your child above all else. If you can get yourself in the right headspace, you’ll be in a good position to take some time for yourself when you get home.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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