Football season is upon us and as a football mom I’m excited to embark on another fun sports season. My boys love and play football so as a family we spend our fall on the sidelines of the football fields. My oldest has played for five years and as a football mom I have learned several tips to make football practices and the overall experience of football as optimal as possible.
Of course it is a dangerous sport, I will agree to that. But so many other sports are dangerous too like hockey, skateboarding, or downhill skiing, even soccer players are quite prone to concussion doing headers. My son loves football. He fully understands it, he breathes it, and in the fall he lives it. We take precautions to try and make it as safe as possible. I wouldn’t hold him back from it because I would be robbing him of one of his greatest sports joys; he simply loves football.
Here are some tips I focus on as a football mom:
Water is a magical potion:
Drinking water throughout the day prior to getting to practice really helps with keeping the kids hydrated. Waiting until practice to load up on water can give your child a stomach ache because they chug the water due to being over thirsty. They will be better able to handle the heat while wearing a helmet and thick pads if they come to practice already beefed up with hydration. Carrying a water jug around all day wherever the child goes helps serve as a reminder to keep drinking water throughout the day. Mark a line on a pitcher for the amount they should drink for the day as an easy fast reminder.
I call being hydrated ‘beefed up with water’. Tell them to beef up with water, be like the hulk and mass themselves up with water.
As a mom and an RN, I know how important hydration can be to a child especially in sports. I’ve seen my oldest child fall quickly into an overheated state as he is prone to heat stroke. A cooler filled with ice and water to dip a cool rag in to hang over your child’s neck when becoming overheated can help cool your child down quickly. A personal water bottle fan sprayer to spritz the face helps on those eighty to ninety degree days also.
Send plenty of water along for the practice as well. Extra water is never a bad thing to have along.
Hey Kid, Go Get your Screen:
Relax on practice and game days. Most of the summer I try to keep my kids off their screens and stay active. But I get lenient in August when football practice starts because they work hard for 1 ½ to 2 hours or more at practice four days a week so they need some daily rest time. I let them do more screen time to rest their bodies and to ease any aches and pains they end up with after practice. They work hard, really hard so rest during the day is important. I try not to over-schedule them with activities or camps too much in August during frequent football practices because I see how hard they work at practice.Taking a nap before practice or a game is also an option but in my experience, only the teens would be willing to take a nap.
[ctt template=”5″ link=”I1_c5″ via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]Oh no, I’m actually encouraging screen time! Young athletes need daily rest during the heavy football practice season of August. @JulieAnnHoag[/ctt]
Eat Healthy my Babes:
Ever seen a teen boy eat after a two-hour football practice? They eat a lot. They get hungry, really hungry. We do healthy meals and snacks as much as possible to maintain a healthy body. I make sure they eat healthy and from all the food groups at meal time. My hungry boys eat even more during football season. I need to have healthy foods they are willing to eat available and ready. Healthy foods they are willing to eat is the key here. Chocolate milk after practice is a favorite at our house. It contains carbohydrates, protein, and of course sugar. I’m not a sugar-police-mama. But I monitor it, and I let them have sugar only in moderation.
Buy a good helmet:
Really investigate the helmet brands and their ratings. No amount of money is worth a concussion so a good helmet is important. We looked into the SG helmet (http://www.sghelmets.com/ 5 star rating) and decided to buy one for extra protection for our son because of his history of mild concussion. It was scary to let our son play football again after his concussion. But football is his passion and my husband and I don’t want to deprive him of playing a sport he is passionate about. As a mom, I realize my kids can get hurt in so many ways every day, even riding a bike or playing a game with friends in the neighborhood. Concussion risks can happen anytime in any activities, not just in football.
That Dreaded Word in Football…Concussion:
Our oldest had a mild concussion back in fourth grade due to an illegal hit by a member on another team. He was forced to miss playoffs which saddened him immensely. He had to sit out of gym and recess which is hard for an active kid. His schoolwork was reduced to 50% to help his brain heal.
Signs of a concussion can be different based on the case. Our son had a headache for over twenty-four hours, he had balance issues which made him clumsy, he was irritable, and he had trouble sleeping. The headaches would come and go for weeks and only rest would alleviate them. In addition to his activity and school work restrictions, he had physical therapy to help restore his balance.
Always assess for concussion signs and call the doctor with any concerns.
Study in the Summer:
School hasn’t even started yet but study is important for the football kids, especially the older ones.They have many plays to learn from the team playbook. Football is complicated. Children should spend time studying so they know what to do in practice and in games. The other kids on the team and the coaches count on all players knowing what to do on the field. Kids will be more confident on the field if they are prepared. Memorizing the plays increases their overall satisfaction.
I’m ready for football. I’m a football mom and I love watching my boys play. I have the team sweatshirt. I have the cheat card with the players jersey numbers and names in hand. It’s exciting to watch. I’m ready with my camera to catch those pristine moments when my kids have a good move. I’m ready, I’m waiting. Game on.
This article is based only on my opinions as a football mama. I am endorsing the SG helmet only because of personal experience.
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These are great tips! My firstborn is only 17 months old, and our second isn’t due for another month yet, so we still have a while before joining any team sports, but I was a nurse before my daughter was born and I was a camp counselor before that. So! I agree with all that you said!
Julie Hoag says
Thanks for the comment. Yes, sports are so fun for kids. They learn so much from being on a team. Have fun when your child enters sports!!
Pamela Li (Rookie Parenting) says
It’s so important to take safety precautions in doing any sports. People often overlook vital things such as hydration and sunscreen. This is a great list. Thank you! #RookieParents
Julie Hoag says
Yes, thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment. There is a lot to consider with youth sports.
My son is 5 and is just starting out. We are have a bit of trouble with him paying attention during practice and retaining the info he gets from his coaches. Any suggestions?
Julie Hoag says
It’s hard at that age. A lot of kids struggle with that at five, mine did too at times. Does the coach give out any handouts for the boys to study? Sometimes that helps so they better understand what the coaches are saying in practice, and perhaps help them listen better if they understand more so it’s not such an enigma. Maybe ask the coaches if they could make some easy diagram handouts so you can go over things with your son. We’ve had coaches who did that and it really helped. Or if you know about football, you could create your own for him.