Keeping kids’ sports teams connected during COVID-19 is more important right now than winning championships. Here’s how to engage them and keep spirits up. It can be difficult keeping kids’ sports teams connected during COVID-19 without the usual practices and orange slices to bond them. But with a little creativity, you can help them stay unified until they can get back in the game.
These are the years when you want to expose your children to activities so they can discover their passions. But y’all, this isn’t the time to expose them to viruses. Being part of a team is critical if you want to teach your child to learn about cooperation, discipline, and sportsmanship. But can you support your kids’ athletic efforts even when they’re cooped up at home? We sure have to try.
Luckily, kids love their screens, so hosting exercise sessions over video isn’t all that strange to them. Have the team members take turns presenting their favorite conditioning workouts—the sillier the better. Moving is moving, and while it’s important to include exercises specific to their sport, they’ll get cardio benefits from dancing, hula-hooping, or bouncing too. Encourage laughter, because these team bonding sessions will be memories that make everyone smile.
During a typical season, there’s no time to give kids a bigger picture of the history of their sport. Invite teammates to virtually watch fun movies together celebrating their chosen activity, and have them share (or re-enact) their favorite parts. Y’all can slip in some actual lessons and morals of the story, too, and finish up with some movie or sports trivia. Ask them if they know of any sporting songs they love, and sing along or lip sync.
Dress For Success
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have the kids get all suited up if they’re only connecting virtually—but uniforms are a tangible part of what helps them identify as a team. Have them wear team hats during video calls, or send them fun headbands with their mottos, or socks in their team colors. You can pick a day for everyone to show off their most spirited face-painting efforts, and host tutorials of their talent.
Keeping kids’ sports teams connected during COVID-19 is a challenge we hope never to see again, and children are bewildered by what’s going on. Schedule in some free time online just to chat, and if there’s an organic opportunity, prompt them to talk about real issues. You could ask them to share about illnesses they’ve experienced, how weird adults are being these days, and what they’re finding most frustrating about social isolation. Sports are about the mental game, too, and this is a great chance to build empathy and be aware of others.