Well the September long weekend is over, kids are back at school and the fall/winter activities are starting up. As a parent you are getting the year schedule and are soon finding your calendar is full. Before you reach for the bottle of wine, take a deep breath, you will get through this. The following will help you get through this season hopefully injury free, but if an injury does occur with your young athlete, you will be prepared for it.
Write down the schedule, not just this months, but the whole year. Put it in a master calendar with everything on it. Important school dates, holidays, practices, games, tournaments and competitions. Again before you scream there is a reason for this. Do you notice any trends? Are there days off? If you your child is in multiple activities are there any conflicts? Is there conflicts between each child's schedule? By noticing any conflicts now, you have the time to manage them now, instead of last minute. The stress that you express when something happens is felt by your children and can distract them their task at hand. Back to days off. Rest is important, very important. Both physical and mental fatigue lead to injuries or burnout. For more on fatigue in athletes go here.
Proper meal planning is also very important. Being prepared with lots of meals in the freezer that can be easily thrown into the oven or slow cooker will save you time and the dread of heading through the drive thru. A supply of healthy snacks in the car can get you through those school to sport moments.
Being prepared for injuries is like having insurance, you hope you don't need to use it but are glad you have it if something does happen. Knowing basic injury management principles will help you not only with your child's injuries but are also a good life skill to have. It is also important to have a health care professional that you trust in case your child does suffer an injury, that way your not searching after the fact. If the sport your child is involved in is prone to concussions, have baseline evaluations done by a qualified health care professional.
Asking your child's coach, teacher or instructor as to their qualifications and preparedness for injury situations. Do they have first aid and CPR? Have taken an injury management seminar or course? Do they have an EAP and a risk management plan? What is their policy on return to activity after injury? These are all questions you need to ask them. Most of the time they will be the one responding to your child's injury, not you. You want to make sure they are prepared for the situation and that there will be no confusion after the fact as to return to activity.
The final thing that you must remember to do for the season is to have fun.