We spent 6 days in the Caribbean while the kids stayed at home with grandparents.
Although our parents love our kids, the schedule that our kids keep would give anyone pause. I was able to convinced my dad and his wife to watch the kids. And we tried to make it easy for them so that they might consider doing it again.
Here are 13 tips on how my wife and I made watching our youth sports kids
- Create a very detailed schedule for each day of the week (see example)
- Pre-cook and freeze some meals.
- Set expectations on homework and bedtime with kids before you leave and with your parents (or whoever is watching your kids)
- Clean and set out school and sports uniforms for the week.
- Leave a list of contact numbers for doctors, dentists, orthodontist, insurance, school, the parents to your kid's friends (especially those who will be carpooling to practices), the local police / fire, the hotel where you are staying.
- Leave medical insurance card(s) and a letter saying that the guardian has been given the right to recommend treatment.
- Pick a destination that is easy to get to and from, just in case of an emergency.
- Arrange rides to practices with teammates. (I'm sure your parents will want to watch the games, otherwise arrange rides to games too.)
- If the people watching your kids are going to use your car - fill the gas tank.
- Fill the refrigerator and cupboards with all the things your kids like to eat - ask your guests what they might want for themselves and buy those things.
- Provide a pre-paid grocery card.
- Provide some spending money
- Provide directions to each practice and game venue (better yet, program venues into your car GPS)
Example: Monday Feb 5, 2012
- Wake kids at 7:00am
- Bus arrives at 7:49am
- Start to thaw pre-cooked Chicken Parmesan - marked in freezer. Pasta is in the cupboard.
- You are free for 7 hours.
- Kids come home at 3:21pm
- Homework for 1 hour
- CC has a volleyball practice from 4:30pm to 5:30pm (Teammate Rachel will pick her up and take her home - if there is an issue call Rachel's mom Karen at xxx-xxx-xxxx, the coach's number is xxx-xxx-xxxx)
- Nic has basketball game at the middle school from 7:00 to 8:00. (He needs to be at the gym at 6:30) The address is 7000 Madison Avenue - this address has been pre-programmed into the GPS in the car, it takes about 10 minutes to drive there. The coach's number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Nic's uniform is in his room. Admission cost for the game is $3 per adult. Use the money in the envelope.
- Cook Chicken Parmesan at 400 degrees from 5:00pm to 5:45pm
- Have kids finish up homework
- CC bed 9:30, Nic can retire after he is done homework.
The Main Point
The youth sports world can be as tiring, demanding and stressful as it is fun and fulfilling. My wife and I took a timeout from it for a week. We went to Negril, Jamaica. We left on a Sunday and returned in time for the tip off our my daughter's basketball game the following Saturday. We only missed 2 basketball games and 2 volleyball matches. It was worth it because my wife and I had a great time reconnecting, relaxing, sunning, eating and drinking. We are now prepared for the spring / early summer schedule of 25 soccer games, 45 basketball games and 75 baseball games.
You should consider taking a time out too.