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10 realities of kids’ sport that every parent understands.

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Over the past two years a whole world that I never really entered before has opened up to me.

A world of “kits” and “colours,” of guernseys and jerseys.

Of balls and bats and back lines and boots.

I’ve become – quite proudly I say – a soccer mum. And a cricket mum and footy mum and an Austag mum and a swim team mum. (My kids would like me to be a basketball mum and an AFL mum as well but in truth we’ve run out of days!)

lessons from kids sport

Shauna and her two boys. Image: Supplied.

My kids are firmly entrenched in the wonderful world of team sports. The shared feeling of victory, the shared feeling of belonging, the shared experience of passing around snot and grot and germs for all to experience.

And we wouldn’t change a thing.

But along the way, through triumphs and losses I’ve learnt a few things – and not just that soccer balls come in different sizes and that if you really, really stretch it, the Saturday newspaper can last for a whole cricket match.

Some of the realities of kids’ sport I have learnt:

1. You need a lot of bags.

If your kids do as many sports as mine do you soon learn to stay organised. Keep each bag packed and in a separate area all ready with the required equipment, a water bottle and the uniform. It makes getting to training and the games a lot easier.

2. Parents with seven seaters are really, really popular.

If you share the load with other parents team scheduling all those team sports can be easy. Car-pooling makes after school training a whole heap easier and the kids can have the shared experience of getting excited about the game ahead.

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3. Never have the last orange from the orange quarters.

Those slimy noses, those hands that wipe them, those who scratch their itchy bum, those who “forget” to wash after racing to the loo at half time and then slip their grubby little fingers into the Tupperware container filled with juicy orange quarters. Need I say more?

Listen to Holly Wainwright grapple with a dilemma: to let one's kids play sport, or sleep in on Saturday mornings? Post continues after audio. 

4. Kids are germy and kids sports are one of the big places they share them around.

We love our kids but let’s face it they are walking, talking, germ bags. From nits to worms, from colds to those kinda icky skin infections, our beloved children carry them around. And when kids get together in close quarters, in team sport at training and in cars, worms can get shared around quickly. Instead of freaking out about it and refuse to participate in team sports, just recognise that these kinds of slightly gross things are a normal part of childhood. Let your kids be free to play sports, it’ll help them make friends, learn how to work as a team, and grow up happy and healthy. Just stay on top of it all by having some tissues, hand sanitiser and those deworming chocolate squares on hand so they can get on with the rough and tumble fun of it all.

5. Some parents take kids sport too seriously.

You know the type, they pace the side line, their voice slightly louder than all others urging their little Lionel on.

But if Ronny on the other team sets a foot wrong, the referee is going to hear about it.

The best way to treat these types is with kindness, call out your support for Lionel and Ronaldo and offer them the last orange quarter.

It’s all about the game right?

6. Sitting on the bench can be a good life lesson.

They learn patience, they learn to support their team and they get to watch the game.

It’s not so bad being a sub.

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Being a sub is not always a bad thing. Image: iStock.

7. Some kids are not naturally sporty and that’s okay but team sports are good for them.

What does Netball teach our kids – “I’m here if you need me.”

What does soccer teach them – that sharing and passing the ball gets the goals.

While some kids might groan at the thought of team sports and they might whine and whinge at having to trek out again on a Saturday morning -- persevere.

Team sports are good for kids for a reason.

They help kids feel like they belong, teaches them great lessons, and is an essential part of growing up.

8. Those kids who take losing personally try harder the next week.

Losing is another good life lesson. We need to let our kids fail and the fact is that there are plenty of ways we can compliment and support them, plenty of ways we can point out just what they did that was brilliant. Losing occasionally will just make them try harder next time.

lessons from kids sport

Sometimes losing will make them try a lot harder. Image: iStock.

9. There is something pretty delightful about watching kids share the experience of winning.

All that praise for losing aside… it’s pretty fun to be on the winning side.

10. There is no loss that the ice cream van on the sideline can’t fix.

Sprinkles? Chocolate topping? A flake stuck in the side.

No matter the score, there is nothing quite as good as the ice cream after.

What do you love most about your kids playing team sports?