Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Now that my son is highly involved in track, I'm getting an insight into how playing sports can help keep kids off of drugs. Apart from the sports philosophy "train your body, keep it clean," my son's practice schedule (3-4 afternoon a week, 3-6pm) makes it difficult to do much hanging out. After he gets home and collapses on the couch for a while, there's homework, dinner, and that's it. He's pretty much given up TV, which is an added side benefit. My daughter is a dancer/acrobat, and, though the training is a little less intense (only 3 days a week for 1-2 hours), she's also younger and has less homework to deal with.
It's true that a sports schedule can hamper family togetherness at the dinner table, but that's where flexibility comes in. Change dinner times and allow snacks to give them fuel when they need it. Your hungry athlete will need more food, and thus will actually enjoy dinner. He or she will probably enjoy large helpings of whatever you dish up, a far cry from the picky days of toddlerhood. Some families take to eating dinner together in the car, which I can't advocate for, though I understand the occasional need. If you must do takeout, try to bring it home and eat around a table together. It's better, really!
NHSDA Report on Team Sports and Sunstance Abuse among Teens. SAMHSA.gov