Info Needed: Are Parents Really Expected to Sit Through Rainy Practices in Individual Tents?

This htainerznd
comment from CrazyCatLady made me wonder: Is this really happening? Parents are sitting through every practice, rain or shine or monsoon?
Dear Free-Range Kids: When I was a kid, back in the ’70s and into the early ’80s, there were not a lot of “after school” activities.  Latchkey kids were a thing.  Sports after school was Kiwanis Baseball.  My brothers did this.  They rode their bikes to practice and back.  They rode their bikes to the various games.  Occasionally, my mother, father or step father would bring siblings to the games.  We were all proud of them at the end of the season even if it wasn’t a winning season.
Let’s look at now. Now parents are expected to attend and stay at practice, either as something that they signed and agreed to, or just from peer pressure from other parents.  Siblings spend hours a day, at the park, climbing on the bleachers and being bored, being told to stay near their parents.  Coaches seem willing to throw in extra practices, so that what started as 2 days a week, and game day, end up with 5 days a week and game day.  If your child doesn’t come, your child doesn’t get to play.
Yesterday I saw an advertisement for pop up huts for parents to sit in when the weather is cold or rainy. They hold one folding chair, no room for the extra child.
Nope, not for me.  Just stay home already!  Let the kids go play their game, have their practice, without 23 adults involved!  The weather is bad, why do I need to stay?  I will come on a NICE day!
And no, I don’t want to drag the bored young ones unless their is a park that they can play in without someone bringing them back to me saying that I need to watch my kids.
When I asked what were these tents she was talking about, CrazyCatLady replied:
They were this one.   I certainly have other things I can do for my $100!

Here is their Face Book page, that is the photo on the top is what I saw that made me say “Nope!”

So, I actually like the tents for what they are: Convenient little shelters. And I do recall some really miserable afternoons at my kids’ sports practices when they were young and I believed I had to sit there. But please inform me, readers: How many parents are staying for how many practices a week? Are drop-offs not allowed? Very curious about this scene. – L.


Are parents popping up in these?


, , , , , , , ,

134 Responses to Info Needed: Are Parents Really Expected to Sit Through Rainy Practices in Individual Tents?

  1. LeAnn May 4, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I only stay at practices because I like to watch or I’ll walk the track at the park. Most parents just drop off/pick up. I’ve never seen a tent 🙂

  2. M May 4, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    I left my kid at practice at age 7. I made sure I dropped him off with the coach, so he would know he arrived. Then my kid would walk home by himself. This was 12 years ago.

    How are parents who work or have multiple kids or responsibilities supposed to be there for every.single.practice? And why?

  3. Coleen May 4, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    I know that my son’s private soccer club doesn’t require parents to sit through practices. I always make sure that the trainer is there, and at least 1 parent is staying (who has my cell #). If not, I do stay, though often in the car if the weather isn’t optimal. For safety reasons. (One trainer plus no parents plus one injured kid isn’t a good scene.) We all take turns staying. They have to be at the field an hour before a game to warm up. I’ll often ensure that the parent managers plus the trainer is there, drop him and go run errands or get coffee then come back for the game. On game days when it’s rainy, I’d love one of those little huts to huddle in with my camera…but usually make do with an umbrella!

    My friend’s kids play baseball, Little League, and they require parents to stay. Some days they’re there from 8:30am on for an 11am game. No way jose!!

  4. Serena Milan May 4, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    I signed my 12 year old up for little league baseball and of course, put my cell phone number on the forms. When the coach started texting us the practice/game schedule for the week, I asked him to please add my son’s number as he is the one that has to go to practice, not me. In fact, I haven’t been to one practice yet this season.

  5. Margo May 4, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    We were looking at a local soccer club for my daughter about 8 years ago, and parents were REQUIRED to come to practices. Ridiculous.

  6. Kathy Mayes May 4, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    My youngest cheered in 2nd – 5th grades, practice before season and the first month of season was 2ish hours, 5 days a week, plus game day, cutting back to 3 days and 2 days a week plus game day as the season progressed. I thought it was a bit much when they could barely keep the kid’s attention. Fortunately, if it rained practice was called off.

  7. ATXmom May 4, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    I think part of this phenomenon starts because people start their kids in sports SO young, like 3 years old. So they don’t want to ditch a coach (who is likely a volunteer) to handle 20 tiny people who have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. They stay to supervise and then it turns into a whole thing with snacks, etc. And also often the places kids play are too far for bike riding (at least here in TX where everything is spread so far apart).

  8. Melissa Simms May 4, 2017 at 11:49 am #

    My kid has been playing club soccer since she was 7. I always left her at practice, and she was the youngest one on the team. I’d come back a bit early and watch the last 10-15 minutes of practice sometimes. We always watch her games though and there are chairs and umbrellas and tents. I thought staying to watch practice was a bit nutty, but lots of other parents stayed.

  9. E May 4, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    I think those things are silly looking and I can’t imagine using one, but to each their own I guess.

    However, I had a kid that played a lot of soccer at a high level. We were not req’d to stay at practices, but when they were young enough to be driven (walking/riding bikes impossible), I would not return home (waste of gas). I’d either read, chat with friends, walk, or leave and run errands.

    I also spent a ton of time with my son at soccer tournaments. What parent wouldn’t care to watch their child “perform” their hobby (music or dance recitals, play performances, gymnastic meets, or soccer tournaments). I would probably still stand with an umbrella, but I’m guessing someone is trying to start a business for people who might prefer this.

  10. Lori May 4, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    As a Girl Scout Leader and former K/1st soccer coach, LEAVE FOR GOODNESS SAKE. It does NOT help to have parents sitting there.

  11. Another Katie May 4, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    Our older daughter’s lacrosse team doesn’t require parents to stay, but most do, given the kids’ ages (K-1st grade). Since I somehow volunteered myself to help coach, I’m on the field with the kids anyways! Our preschooler either runs around with me or plays on the sidelines – she knows she’s not to leave my sight or go anywhere near the road or parking lot.

    Our association cancels practices and games for the younger kids if it’s actively raining. Honestly, they don’t have fun when it’s pouring and cold and they’re sliding in the mud.

  12. Workshop May 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    I recall a coworker who’s daughter does travel-soccer, and I believe he was told to not be there (too many parents will second-guess the coach).

    My oldest son takes after-school karate classes, and I am not required to be there. In fact, I use the late-in-the-day classes as a good excuse to hit the gym, since I don’t need to pick him up by 6pm.

  13. Darla H May 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    Parents are not required to stay for games or practices for my Northern Virginia 10-year-old who play soccer. I don’t stay for practices and I don’t always go to games. I usually walk him to the practice field, which is close to our house, but across a very, very busy street. I asked him one time if he thought I needed to be at all the games and the practices. And he said as long as you guys get me there I’m fine on my own.

  14. Wendy May 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    I was told specifically by my daughter’s baseball coach that practice was not a babysitting service and that the parents had to be there. I actually find it very hard to sit through practice because I want to help my daughter but I am trying not to counteract the coaches instructions. I also have a problem with watching the men be allowed to be on the field coaching while us women….have to sit on the sidelines…..

  15. Bek May 4, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    At gymnastics the vast majority drop and leave people that stay typically live outside of town or have kids that start at slightly different times. I had year that I usually stayed because of when practice was coincided with rush hour and it was a headache to try and go anywhere.

  16. Kristin May 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    We just drop off for practices, and we aren’t required to stay, but there are tons of parents on my kid’s teams that do it all the time! Some are obsessive about their kids playing time (my husband is a coach and that drives him nuts) so the parents will watch at practice carefully to see what if their son is getting favorable treatment, etc. On the flip side, we have also had parents who do not show up on time to pick their kids up from practice. Rules say coach HAS to stay until the last kid is picked up.

    I wouldn’t use one of these pop ups for a practice, but I would use one to watch a game. In MN it starts getting pretty cold on those October evenings when they are playing those last games of the season.

  17. Lyndsay May 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    Not an outdoor sport, but my girls dance. I stayed for class when they were 3, mostly because 3 year olds aren’t very good at going to the bathroom on their own. I stay in the area for my now 4 year old’s class mostly because a 60 min class isn’t worth driving home. But I will go to the nearby grocery store, etc. Starting when my middle daughter was 3 1/2, though, I was dropping her at rehearsals and leaving.

  18. CK May 4, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I like to drop my kids off at practice, then go off and run errands. I have had problems with end times being unclear. Lots of times, I come back at what was supposed to be the end time, and the coach has extended practice by 30 minutes or so. Then I’m standing there thinking, I could have made one more stop instead of rushing back to the field!
    One thing I have noticed is parents feeling guilty about not attending practice or games. Siblings may fight over whose practice Mom attends more. Parents feel guilty or unsupportive by not being there for everything and they don’t want any of the kids to feel slighted. Many, many parents stay for two-hour football practice five nights a week (around July 25 until start of school). I wonder how anybody gets yard work or grocery shopping done! Lots of parents stay (when it’s not required) because they want to witness every detail. They hash over every play and every mistake. Lots of sidelines coaching even at practice! The kids seem to be feeling the effects, too. They tend to be less confident, spontaneous and happy in general. Everything they do is a performance to be judged. My kids love sports and play hard because they own the experience. I refuse to make it mine. They understand that sometimes Mom comes and sometimes she doesn’t. They know they don’t need to prove anything to me.

  19. Kathy May 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    We stayed at practices in the 1990s. Our kids played sports with other kids from their schools but we lived several miles out of district. Had I dropped off I would have gotten home in time to leave to go back and pick up.

  20. KB May 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    I recently learned that our local soccer league technically requires a parent’s presence for practices and games. While I don’t see the policy enforced and I just drop my 10-year-old son off, anyway, this stuff really gets my goat… when I was at his age almost thirty years ago, we were pretty much shoved out of the car at a slow roll for our activities! These soccer practices run from 5:00 to 6:30 on a weekday evening, so staying there (in all kinds of weather) is just not a reasonable expectation, especially when there is dinner to be made and siblings who need to get their homework done and/or be otherwise entertained. I understand the potential need for immediate medical care that the coach may not be able to deal with, but I try to remedy this with my cell phone number written on his water bottle (and I am only a 3-minute drive from the field). My son is a-okay with this. I’m grateful that he’s fine with having interests and experiences that require him to make some social navigations without a parental safety net.

  21. Nicole May 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    A what’s sad is parent’s sometimes get upset and nervous when they are told not to stay, because clearly the coach is a child molester if that is the case. I think it’s a little silly to dictate it either way, but there is always a way for a coach to get in trouble – my ex offered an extra practice a week for flexibility, and all practices were absolutely not mandatory and everyone got equal playing time – still endless complaints and he was told he was causing trouble with the extra practice.

  22. Nicole May 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    For sure a lot go because they think they are coaches and just don’t have the time to actually volunteer so they sideline coach instead – I am so glad to be out of that world.

  23. Nicole May 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    My sister lives in Washington State and they have these tents for watching games not practices. it rains so much there that they play a lot in the rain. Kids love it not so much the parents.

  24. Nicole May 4, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    Oh I will add that I stay for practice for 7 year old because I like talking with the other mom’s. We don’t watch the practice. It is a nice break to just be with other parents. I also stay at her practice because the only bathroom is the out house and it is far from the field they play at and in a parking lot.

    For my other two kids I just drop off and go. They are older and the bathroom out house is near the field.

  25. Alan May 4, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    I generally coached, so I rarely had the opportunity to decide to stay, but I think this is ridiculous. When I wasn’t coaching I only stayed at practice because I enjoyed being outside. I would take a book and read while waiting for practice to end. Most parents dropped the kids and left.

  26. James Pollock May 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    It’s been a while, but we were actively chased off from practices, and weren’t expected at all the competitions, either… except for the one we hosted, in which they (politely but insistently) requested “all hands on deck” to volunteer.

    I live in an area where “outdoor” means “rainy” If one of these little tents popped up at a child’s athletic event, I think the impression from that would be “you’re not from here, are you?”

    I’m also (politely!) suggesting that CCL may not be accurately recounting the opportunities of the 70’s, possibly because the other activities were not appealing rather than not present. Scouting, for example, has been around since well before the 70’s. YMCA has been running programs… for both males and females… since before the 70’s, too. Those are ones I know of that had programs all over the country, there were lots of others that were more regional.

  27. that mum May 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    My kids have never been in a sport where I was required to stay—depending on where practice is I might stay if it’s too far to drive home. The gymnastics place here will not let parents even watch they are very strict and they are only allowed to watch once a month. They can stay but they are not in the room.

    I do of course stay for games to cheer, for softball I end up getting roped into scorekeeper—I’m not coach materiel. Soccer only gets cancelled for snow and ice around here. My girl has played through wind storms. I think one of those shelters would blow away with me in it.

    There have been kids on their softball teams where I never saw the parents so it goes both ways… though I don’t think my parents ever watched one of mine and I really didn’t care. it wasn’t a thing in our town in the 70’s nobody’s parents came.

  28. lollipoplover May 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    I only stay if I am the coach!
    We drop off and carpool. There are usually many other coaches that are friends of ours that could handle any emergency/bad weather scenario probably better than we could.

    We’ve never had any sport require parents to be at anything. Often the parents are coaching other siblings, that’s why you give emergency contact info. The problem I’ve seen as a coach is that parents who stay and watch usually make the kids distracted and harder to teach because they run back to the parents for drinks, food, etc.

    These tents are a hoot! I can just see the next headline when a big wind gust tumbles these parents lined up like dominos.

  29. Dienne May 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    How much of it is parents choosing to stay because they don’t trust the coach to properly coach? The parents who are yelling at their kid the whole time. The ones yelling at the coach because their kid didn’t get to play enough or had an unfair call against them or whatever.

  30. Jessica May 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    My son is in kindergarten t-ball and we are definitely not expected to stay for practice!! Sometimes I do, since I have to drive home and sometimes it’s not worth it, but certainly, we drop the kids off and the coaches expect to handle them!

  31. Clare Mullin May 4, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    We don’t stay for practice, not in elementary, middle or high school – why would you? I did watch dance class when they were babies because it wasn’t worth driving home and coming back. If I was coaching I would recommend that parents leave so that the kids can actually consciously uncouple the apron strings for an hour and learn a little independence!
    I do feel judged if I don’t go to games but that’s a burden I will have to learn to live with as I work full time and have realized for whatever reason my kids seem to score more when I’m not there!!

  32. Kimberly May 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    My nephew and his cousin can not ride their bikes to practice because they would have to cross I10/Katy Freeway feeder road/underpasses and ride down a 6 lane 45 mph road with no bike lane or sidewalk during Houston Rush Hour.

    Their parents drop off for practice and they switch off who does drop off and who does pick up. For batting practice one parent takes and stays because it is short and the practice is done in alpha order and the boys have the same last name.

    THose tents would be useless for our family because if it is raining hard enough to use then the practice/game would be called. There are two reasons damage to the field by playing in the rain/mud. Hard steady rain = thunderstorm around here. Here those things would be portable saunas. By the end of Soccer people are saying how nice it is just in the mid to lower 80s. Basketball happens in our only “cold” weather and that is in a gym (often baking hot), and baseball starts with evenings in the 70s (and people wearing coats) to high 80s.

  33. Melissa May 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    Many of my kids’ sports REQUIRE parents to stay. Ugh. At least I am picky on what sports I let them do… nothing with travel or multiple practices per week (my kids are elementary age). Nothing with Sunday or Wednesday games/practices because CHURCH! I kick it ’70s-style for sure. The sports have taken over families’ lives and I will not allow it to happen in our home. It is the new God for American families. Even if you are an athiest family though, I can’t see how it benefits you to spend your whole weekend schlepping your child and their gear all over the region for something they will burn out on before high school ends, most likely.

  34. James May 4, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    I’ve actually looked into those pop-up huts. They are a fantastic idea for field geologists, who often have to pump wells for hours at a time, regardless of weather. Given the thousands of hours I’ve spent being soaked to the bone, it’s worth the price!!

    But the thing is, someone is paying me to be out in that weather. For my kid’s practice? Nope. Practice is THEIR responsibility–that’s the whole point, really. For a game, yeah, I’ll suffer through some uncomfortable weather–games are a big deal–but practice is something else entirely. Unless your parent is a coach or assisting in some way, they have no business there. Practice is where you fail, it’s where you screw up, so that you learn not to do that at game time. Having parents there defeats that purpose.

  35. Kimberly May 4, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    Last year, I dropped my 11 year old son off at his PAL football practices and then hung out at a nearby Starbucks.

  36. Crystal May 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    We have four kids ages 4-9. They get dropped off for practices, and no, we do not stay. We watch games, however.

  37. LGB May 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    I live in the rainy Pacific Northwest, so no, I haven’t seen these silly contraptions. *If* we do anything, we just throw up the hoods of our coats and move on with our lives.

    The organized sports issue is another matter. As a homeschooler, I enroll my children in intramural sports through Parks and Rec to provide their physical ed. I usually sit with a book or knitting project because 45 minutes isn’t long enough to leave and run errands. I’m sorry to say that I don’t do a lot of watching or cheering because my kids find that more jarring than anything. I treat these classes like recess or play time at the park. It should be a chance to have fun and exercise with little, if any, parental intervention.

    I will not enroll the children in local sports leagues for reasons outlined by CrazyCatLady. The pressure that these programs place on kids has sucked the joy out of athletics. They also convey the message that sports are only for fit kids, when they should be for ALL kids. If any of my children end up feeling passionate about a sport, we can revisit the issue in middle school and high school.

    Ironically, according to one emergency room physicians, organized sports may place children in GREATER danger than just leaving them to their free-range devices. That’s probably due more to their parents, though.

  38. Roger the Shrubber May 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    My brother-in-law insisted that he or his wife stay for karate practice while I dropped off. ‘What if they get hurt’ was his excuse. I explained to him that if they were truly hurt his presence would only complicate things as he was in no way qualified to render aid. And if they were hurt to the extent that he was able to help, not being there to kiss their boo-boos and assure them that they are OK would go a long way in them growing up, which was part of the objective of a self-defense classes. He was not convinced.

  39. Donna May 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    There are no requirements for staying at practice for any activity that my child has ever done. I mostly drop off, but I sometimes stay. Sometimes it is nice to just have an hour to relax and either talk to the other parents or catch up on the latest on Free Range Kids on my phone. Sometimes I just enjoy watching. My daughter takes riding lessons, but doesn’t ride competitively so watching the occasional lesson is the only chance I get to see her do her thing. Sometimes I have every intention of leaving and get caught up in chatting with another parent and end up staying for the whole thing as happened last weekend at the math competition.

    I really don’t think staying is a helicopter parenting thing. Many non-helicopter parents stay too simply because it is more convenient for them or they enjoy it. However, the tent is a whole new level. Sheesh, just go sit in the car if it is inconvenient for you to leave, but the weather is bad.

  40. John B. May 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    Don’t have any kids myself but I can’t imagine it being mandatory for parents to attend every practice their kid is in even in the era of helicoptering. It’s just that nowadays any parent who does not attend their kid’s practice will be looked on as a bad parent who does not care about their child’s successes and self-esteem. Now an actual game? Yes, parents should try to attend but practice, no. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous for a parent to attend every practice but perhaps the above picture are parents of 5-year-old soccer kids who live too far away from practice to walk to and fro. But the way we bubble-wrap kids nowadays and treat them as if they’re made out of balsa wood, I’m surprised they’d allow the fragile little darlings to be outside in the rain and the mud in the first place in fear that they’d catch pneumonia or slip on the mud and fall down and hurt themselves! I mean, c’mon, they’re just kids. This is 21st century America folks.

  41. lollipoplover May 4, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    @Donna- I agree, some parents stay because by the time they got home, they’d have to turn around and come back. Most of the youth sports fields are at large parks and I sometimes stay to walk the dogs or go for a run while the kids are practicing…and I want to get my exercise too.

    OT, but just saw this ad for Kraft Mac and Cheese and am cracking up:

  42. Mark Roulo May 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    “We don’t stay for practice, not in elementary, middle or high school – why would you?”

    Because getting to practice takes 20+ minutes by car and practice is only two hours?

    I can leave and return and spend 40 more minutes in the car … or I can bring a book
    and read for two hours [and depending on location, I could maybe go read in a coffee
    shop, but that doesn’t always work well, either …]

  43. Amanda Wooldridge May 4, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    My daughter played soccer from 1st – 7th grade. In the early years, parents were expected to stay at practice. I was one of the first parents to drop my daughter off and leave, probably when she was in 4th grade, but after I did, many other parents started to leave their kids too. The first time I had her leave practice on her own and ride her bike to our church four blocks away, where I was in a meeting, several parents offered to drive her, but she declined and, of course, made it safely.

    I did attend most of the games and sat through a lot of bad weather since she played both Fall & Spring soccer. At least Winter soccer was indoors.

  44. Marybeth May 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    By early elementary, I never stayed for sports (baseball, swimming or soccer.) I usually needed to work in between taxi duties and found a nearby coffee shop with wifi. Kids don’t need sideline coaches and when they are little they tend to run to mom or dad rather than the coach when there is a problem. They need to go to the coach who is usually up to his neck trying to keep some number of young children focused on whatever sport they are learning.

  45. test May 4, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

    If the kid needs drop off and pick up, I would stay during practice – unless there is grocery shop or something similar useful nearby. Driving 15 minutes home and back just so I have 30 minutes free in home does not sound useful or practical to me.

    This way I can read or play on the phone, chat or have other similar relax while the kids play. The ideal situation would be if the kid can transfer itself to practice alone through. I also imagine it is different when mom (the picture shows mostly women) is stay at home – then I imagine she will welcome opportunity to socialize with other parents even more.

    With really small kids (3-6) clubs tend to prefer when parents stay around – it makes bathroom breaks easier and changing up after practice faster.

  46. Beth May 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    @Coleen, why do you or any parent have to stay? Can’t the coach or trainer call you if there’s a need?

  47. Kirsten May 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    Like so many things that have changed since I was a child this strikes me as bizarre. But it sounds like most people who commented below don’t stay or feel obliged to stay for practices.

    When I was a child parents dropped their kids off at ballet practice, soccer, music lessons, art classes, Little League, etc. A parent who had stayed to watch would have been considered weird and the kids would have felt sorry for the child whose parent won’t let them do anything on their own. My mother dropped me off at ballet when I was 4.

    Likewise no parents stayed for children’s birthday parties. I even remember attending one for a 2.5 year old boy when I was around 5 and I didn’t even know him except as the child of some friends of my parents.

    Parents also didn’t help kids with their homework except in really unusual circumstances. I.e., it wasn’t routine. Kids would sit and do their homework on their own for the entire evening while their parents made dinner or worked or hung out in the other room. Now I hear parents saying they were tired because, “Jamie’s homework took 3 hours last night!” as if homework were by default a collaboration between child and parent.

    It’s all part of the same pattern I’ve seen with my cousins who spend every waking moment with their children, whether they’re doing homework, playing games, eating, taking a break, going outside. For the kids it must be like having a stalker.

  48. Resident Iconoclast May 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    You know what this really is? The coaches are scared shitless, that little Johnny will make some offhand remark about the coach “touching his private parts,” and then Herman Goering and the Luftwaffe will swoop in and impose 562 years in prison, perhaps for a crime, that never occurred.

    So you’re sitting there, not to watch your children, but to act as a potential witness in the future sex abuse prosecution. If you’re not paying attention, the 4,000 other parents that are required to stay might have five or six who are paying attention.

    Bottom line: One has to be nuts to coach childrens’ sports.

  49. Lena May 4, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    My experience is that if it is a school sport you don’t have to stay but all the recreational sports (run by the city etc…) that my kids have participated in require the parents to stay. In states that have nice weather the parents usually walk around the track or the field while their kids practice. I now live in Washington (the state) on the rainy side and these tents are awesome for the weather here. It sucks sitting in the cold rain for 45minutes during soccer practice that yes, I am required to be at. Oh… and yes I bought one, love it, and I recommend it for anyone who lines in the PNW…

  50. Richard Jones May 4, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    As a coach I can only say, please, please stay if you want but don’t let your kids see you. Parents, even sitting quietly, are a distraction to the learning process. Cheer your hearts out at the games but let the kids and coach do their own thing. Any program with competant coaches can handle any emergency from injuries to hurt feelings. If you don’t trust the program, take your kid out of it.

  51. Roger the Shrubber May 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    For the kids it must be like having a stalker.

    Well put. I’ve had a parent tell me that they never left their daughter alone until she was 15. How stupid are you making your 14 year-old daughter feel when you insist on dragging her along when you go grocery shopping? I’m sure whatever worries my mother had about leaving my sister and me alone at home at 10 and 12 years old were greatly overcome by the relative tranquility of not having us around.

  52. Cindy Karlan May 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    I try to stay for games but drop off for practices. Practices are boring; games are exciting. Sometimes I don’t go to games either, frankly, because I’ve got 3 kids playing and that’s too much time spent standing or sitting on my butt. Still, I like these pods for those extremely bone chilling windy games or when it suddenly starts to rain.

  53. shdd May 4, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    My daughter does karate and I don’t have to stay. Sometimes I sit outside, sometimes I walk. Last night my husband and I had a rare dinner just the two of us around the corner from karate. It was too cold to sit outside. I also food shop because the local Giant is nearby.

    She loves to show me what she learned but I want to give her some independence. If the class ends early she can text me to see if I am nearby. If anyone attacked her they would be sorry she is a first degree black belt who can hit hard.

  54. Jennifer May 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Here parents don’t usually stay for practices, but they do come to all games. I end up staying at my son’s soccer practices because they’re too far away and too short to go home during them. If it’s raining I sit in the car and read or catch up on emails.

  55. LGB May 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    @Richard Jones, that’s validating. Thank you. As I posted above, I’m the only jackass parent who sits through practice with my nose in a book without cheering or barking orders at my kids.

  56. WendyW May 4, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    “My nephew and his cousin can not ride their bikes to practice because they would have to cross I10/Katy Freeway feeder road/underpasses and ride down a 6 lane 45 mph road with no bike lane or sidewalk during Houston Rush Hour.”

    That’s just nuts! This is the result of building huge kids’ sports complexes with 20 soccer fields in one park. How about we put one baseball and one soccer field in each neighborhood, assign kids to their local team, and let them bike/walk/skate to practice? The get to play with their friends, or make new ones that don’t require parent managed “playdates”, and the fields are available for pick-up games at other times.

  57. bluebird of bitterness May 4, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    My offspring are all adults now, but back when they were kids, I had one simple rule for them participating in extracurricular activities: If it was something they could do without making more work for me, the answer was yes; if it was something that was going to make more work for me, the answer was no. I have never felt any guilt about it, then or now. There was never any shortage of fun, interesting things for kids to do that fell into the former category, and they suffered no ill effects whatever for having been deprived of the things in the latter category.

  58. Marcia May 4, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    I think that these tents are great-for days of soccer games and tournaments that you are stuck outside b for hours in bad weather. I live in the Midwest and tournaments for soccer are often far away from home. You may be outside with nowhere to go for an entire day. I’m not a fan of these things if it is used for daily practices. If I choose to sit through a sports practice it’s usually because I enjoy socializing with other parents. Coaches provide supervision for practicing kids. My husband was a coach for 9 years.

  59. Sasha May 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

    My 9 year old plays sports. If it’s nice sometimes I sit out and watch the practice, sometimes I take the little ones to the playground, sometimes I sit in the car, and sometimes I just drop him out at practice while I go run errands.

  60. Beth May 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    Most people are commenting as if it’s optional to stay at practices, but I think one of the key points is that, in certain areas, parents are required to stay. When my son started 5th grade football (I’d like to make THAT decision over again), I had to sign a form agreeing to be on the sidelines for each and every practice. Ok, me or my husband…and it couldn’t be my driving-age daughter who would have loved nothing more than to sit and read for a couple hours.

    We lived 5 minutes from the practice field. What a waste of time.

  61. Ann May 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    3 kids… 3 sports
    Sport 1: we carpool with several other families, so most days I don’t even have to drop off or pick up. On the day that I drive, sometimes I stay and watch just because it isn’t worth my time to drive home. Other days I run errands. Other parents seem to do the same.
    Sport 2: almost all parents drop off. I stay because my high anxiety kid requests it.
    Sport 3: we are new to this one. I am staying right now just to get a feel for how things are going, but will start dropping off soon.

    I do think those little tents look great for game days. I like to go to my kids’ games/competitions.

  62. Chris G. May 4, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    My kids are in a bowling league on Saturday morning. I drop them off & come back 1 1/2 hrs. later. I get some time to myself – enjoying coffee & the latest newspaper. If they are finished before I get there, they wait. They’ve been doing this for 3 years.

  63. Heather May 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    I have two boys (8 and 4) with only my oldest doing organized sports. I work full time and Dad works late. Depending on the time of practice I either drop off the oldest, then go pick up the youngest and return for some playtime at the onsite park, exercise doing laps, chat with other parents (some drop off, some stay) or possibly a quick errand. Or I pick up both before practice and do the same. It’s 15 minutes to get back home so I don’t think it’s worth it to spend another 30 minutes in the car round trip with my 4 yr old plus gas $$ to get 60 minutes at home during a 90 minute practice. I don’t live in an area where everything is 5 minutes away. I enjoy watching the games on the weekend and the weather is always beautiful. I’m expecting to do more dropping off when my youngest starts couple of years. We learned quickly from my oldest that it wasn’t worth it to pay someone else to watch 4 year olds run around.

    I find the quality time with my youngest reaps benefits with his behavior or I do some free range training and allow him to go explore and see how he follows the parameters I give him. On game days there are lots of siblings running around in packs finding bugs, collecting sticks, kicking/throwing balls…..similar to what I had growing up, albeit on a much smaller scale. I’ll take it!

  64. Chelsea May 4, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    Reporting from Berkeley, CA: Parents haven’t been required to stay for practices for any sports or activities my kids have participated in since they started elementary school (soccer, swimming, basketball, gymnastics, art, etc). One soccer club in our area does have a two-adult policy–there need to be two adults present (i.e., the coach and one other adult), but that’s the only such requirement I’ve heard of. I stayed at practices when my kids were early elementary school aged, but from 2nd grade up, there weren’t many parents sticking around for practices anymore (and therefore no parental peer pressure to stick around either).

  65. James Pollock May 4, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    ” When my son started 5th grade football (I’d like to make THAT decision over again)”

    Out of curiosity, what do you mean? You wish your son didn’t play football? You wish he didn’t play football in 5th grade? Or you wish he didn’t play football in this particular organization?

    I was ineligible for interscholastic football in junior high school, because we had a state rule that required students to have attended a school in the same school district the semester prior, and I moved before 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. (I’m pretty sure my mom was happy that I wasn’t playing football, either, but I wish I’d been able to.)

  66. Caiti May 4, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    My sons latest sport is track and I’m super excited that they’ve been holding practice at our local park– the one I go to all the time because they have a nice dog park. Most of the parents back their suvs so their trunks are facing the practice area and they sit in the trunk with the top open and watch. Not me! I say goodbye to him and walk the dog all the way to the other side of the park where the dog park is located. I can’t see or hear the kids from there. Only problem I’ve run into is I have to park with the other parents because my son says the coach won’t let the kids cross the street (a paved dead end path lined with parking spots- not even a street, though there is a crosswalk) so its the only way he can meet me at the car after practice. He’s the youngest of his group– 8 years old. Practice is called off all the time for rain. Do any sports actually practice in the rain anyone?

  67. Liz May 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

    Where is this assumption that parents are required or all overwhelmingly stay for practices? My kid has been in multiple sports and a vast majority of parents just drop the kids off. I assumed the little tents were for when parents came to watch the actual games. P.S. I think the tents are genius!

  68. SarahMom May 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

    We were encouraged, but not required, to stay for practice in the first couple years, in case the kids threw a hissy fit. Mine threw hissy fits, so we bailed on soccer. It wasn’t their thing, but they were under 5 when we started, and the season was short.

    The row of tents in their photo is way too perfect. I’ve never seen this anywhere near here. I’m sure they’re trying to create this from scratch. Most parents I know who hang out during practices want to be able to talk to the other parents, not huddle in their damp misery without even being able to gossip. This is entirely created to convince people this is what they *should* do, so the company can make some money.

    The pod for a camera – that makes sense to me.

  69. pentamom May 4, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

    I have that 20 minute drive each way for practices for the sport all my kids have done.

    And I can’t imagine sitting around watching during practice.

    I find somewhere else to go — the public library is 5 minutes away, and there are some places I can get some shopping done within 10 minutes of there. Or I sit in the car and read. Or if it’s nice, I bring a blanket, and sit on it and read in a different part of the park from where practice is going on. I don’t even do as much of that as I used to, since we found teammates in our area of the city to carpool with.

    The LAST thing a bunch of high school and middle school kids want is somebody’s mom sitting and staring at everything they do. At least, that’s how it works around here.

    Unless one of my kids was on the cusp of winning some championship type event, none of them would have expected or wanted me to sit outside in worse conditions than a blanket and an umbrella could deal with, even for a competition. If I were at the event at all, and there was weather that required a personal tent to keep warm and dry, they’d EXPECT me to find shelter.

  70. Paul Shannon May 4, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

    Parents going to practices?! i didn’t even want them at my games!

  71. Flossy73 May 4, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    I cheer my girl on at the games, lavish on the applause at concerts and sit in the front row for special ceremonies. But I’m totally upfront to my kid, coaches, teachers and other parents that I think watching anyone, even my beloved daughter, practice anything is about as interesting as watching paint dry. I have no problem giving my daughter the chance to exist outside the mom gaze, learning how to interact with other adults. When I walk away she learns to navigate different types of adults, practices her independence and gets a chance to function in her natural state. i have my own interests and needs just as everyone in my family does. It’s important to show up and support each other’s “big moments” but it’s also just as important to respect that others don’t simply exist to be your 24 hour cheerleader. This modern day fad for martyrdom-of self sacrificing parents whose identity is totally enmeshed in their child really grosses me out.

  72. Sandra Smith May 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

    My 6 yr. old grandson lives in the inner city, and plays t-ball at a city park about half a mile from his house. While the kids posd for their team pictures a few days ago, there was a gunfight about a block away from them. People he been shot on the main route from his home to the park (two this morning). His dad stays for all his practices, and both parents attend all his games.

  73. Jessica May 4, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

    SarahMom (and several others)
    Yes, I agree– for many parents, staying for practice is a social activity. I’m a SAHM, and at the moment I don’t stay for my 5-yos practices, because I don’t know anyone. But there have certainly been other activities, where family friends are on the same team, and those practices end up being an activity I look forward to all week. The other mom and I can sit on the bleachers and chat for 45 minutes (and yes, of course, we do also comment on how cute our kids are, and comment on “oh gosh, mine seriously has no idea how to throw that ball.”)

  74. Kim Coleman May 4, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    For all sports and activities in our area – North Vancouver, BC kids atleast 10 & under are required to have someone there. That could be a parent/family member, older (teenage) sibling, another parent of a kid there as well. But someone needs to be there for the kid. I have no issue with this. Games/practices/activities arent always in walking distance. It isn’t the coach/teacher’s responsibility to take care of the kid.

    I feel fine with our 9yr old walking home from the local mall – 1 mile away – on a weekend when traffic is quiet. He has free run of our entire neighbourhood (traffic calmed and very pedestrian friendly). But he’s under my care. When he’s playing soccer or at karate – he’s under their insurance and I don’t blame organizations from requiring a parent stay. And seriously …. why can’t you stay and watch your kid or get someone to help out? Or ask another parent on the team to do so?

  75. Emily May 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm #

    Why limit it to rainy days? Why limit it to sports practice? Everyone should just zip themselves into their respective bubbles, in order to avoid pesky human interaction with pesky…….other humans. After all, they might disagree with you, or ask you to help them with things, and of course, everyone knows that every post-pubescent penis owner is a psychotic pedophile.

    Okay, sarcasm off. I can see parents staying if the game or practice is short enough that going home wouldn’t make sense, and they don’t have errands to run, or another kid to drop off and pick up somewhere–and that’s another thing; how does the “parents must stay” expectation work with families with multiple kids? However, as a matter of course, I think dropping kids off at their sports or other activities, is fine. I mean, part of the reason why parents enroll their kids in these things, is to help their kids find out who they are as individuals, and as members of a group outside the family, right? Well, how can that happen if they don’t get to participate without a family member present? Yes, I know that the parents don’t take an active role; they’re just observing on the sidelines (assuming they’re not yelling instructions at their kids, or heckling other kids), but there’s no way around the fact that it’s a different dynamic for a child, doing an activity with their parent there, versus without. Also, what about getting kids to listen to and respect adults who aren’t their parents? How are kids going to learn that sometimes the swimming instructor/Little League coach/dance teacher/Brown Owl is in charge, in the absence of their parents? Won’t that set them up for a lot of friction in the future, with other authority figures in higher-stakes situations?

  76. Amy May 4, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

    Our rule…we never stay at practices nor do we attend away games (unless we want to).

  77. Mike May 4, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    Are we allowed to hotbox those things?

    (asking for a friend)

  78. KHH May 4, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

    My youngest is very active in sports – baseball, basketball, water polo, among others. I drop and run for practices ALL THE TIME.

    I do, however, like these for games. I scorekeep for his games, so I need to be at all of his club games. The ability to have something that I can block out the rest of the parents, people coming to ask me the score and the inning and how many outs, or if they can borrow a pen, or keep the wind from blowing my book around sounds AWESOME.

  79. Vic May 4, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    Am in AUSTRALIA, depends on age and club as to whether is required or not. I did find out other day though that you are meant to be ‘actively supervising’ your child during their swimming lesson, meaning I was told I couldn’t swim (in same pool) with one child while the other was in their lesson. (Something I have done for previous 10 weeks without incident). If you have two children in lessons in different pools you should choose to ‘actively supervise’ the younger child. I was told “is only till they are ten”. This ‘rule’ led the person at the desk to suggest that I could not go in the pool and watch from the side one child (7) in lesson and one playing in the pool (5) (mmm that sounds much safer). And that lifeguards should be making sure parents on the side of lessons are actually observing their children during lessons (thankfully lifeguards don’t do this and do just watch the pool!!). Is crazy, the swimming lesson is in a very small section of pool with between 3 and 5 children (all can stand up) to a teacher.

  80. JTW May 5, 2017 at 12:47 am #

    “I think part of this phenomenon starts because people start their kids in sports SO young, like 3 years old. So they don’t want to ditch a coach (who is likely a volunteer) to handle 20 tiny people who have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing”

    That’s part of it. Bigger part is the phobic fear and distrust of men (and most coaches are men), thinking all of them are pedophiles.
    Leaving your child with a “stranger” is tantamount to ensuring the child gets molested in their world view…
    And therefore you should always stay there with the child, just to keep an eye on that nasty pedophile so he doesn’t touch your child…

  81. shannonsistrunk May 5, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    I could only see this for tournaments. They’re times when I’d love something like this but I’d just buy a big tent probably for that price. Meh.

  82. Lynn Jobe May 5, 2017 at 1:48 am #

    Alternatively parents might be encouraged to take on some sort of exercise while their kids play or practice. Walking, yoga or a boot camp perhaps? #walkthetalk #rolemodel

  83. Katie G May 5, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    I realize the thread is a bout sports, but here’s an interesting note. About 15 years ago, my cousins’ violin teacher did require the parents of her students under a certain age to be present for the lessons, because there are so many nuances to the instrument and practicing can be difficult. Some students’ parents took lessons right along with their children! And yes, at each concert, those few parents were playing too. (My aunt & uncle did not.)

  84. dan May 5, 2017 at 7:12 am #

    Im a scout leader and I would say to parent…. for Practices, drop off and leave them to get on with it, coming back to pick up at the end unless cycling or walking is practical.

    go an watch and cheer at the actual GAMEs (but don’t annoy the ref/umpire) but you would only get in the way at practice

  85. Beth May 5, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    “It isn’t the coach/teacher’s responsibility to take care of the kid.”

    If a kid needs taking care of during a sports practice, maybe they’re too young to be in that sport.

    I don’t even understand how this would work; how does one take care of their kid while the coach is running a practice; wouldn’t there be parents all over the place interfering with the activities?

  86. James May 5, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    “Likewise no parents stayed for children’s birthday parties. I even remember attending one for a 2.5 year old boy when I was around 5 and I didn’t even know him except as the child of some friends of my parents.”

    It was the opposite where I grew up: adults stayed at the party. But there was a clear line between the kids and the adults. The kids had their space (outside, or in a designated room if the weather was bad or they were playing cards or something), and the adults had their space (living room, deck, etc). It wasn’t that we couldn’t interact, it was just…..why would we? The kids wanted to play tag or hide-and-seek, and the adults wanted to play canasta or spend hours talking. There was seldom any reason to interact.

    It’s the same now that I have kids. We’ve gone to a few birthday parties and other social events, and the kids have their space, while the adults have our space. We occasionally interact, but for the adults it’s mostly an opportunity to catch up with friends while for the kids it’s a chance to run around and be crazy.

  87. James May 5, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    “And seriously …. why can’t you stay and watch your kid or get someone to help out?”

    Several reasons, Kim.

    First, this is practice. In a good practice, you’re going to screw up. A LOT. Practice is where you learn new things, where you drill until you’ve perfected things, where you make your mistakes so you don’t make them at game time. This requires being in a certain headspace, and trying to impress Mommy and Daddy (which they will do) is pretty much the antithesis thereof. Having a parent there can actively undermine the utility of practice.

    Second, it’s the coach’s job to take care of the kids at that point. Ever hear the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? When parents watch kids practice, it’s the same thing–every arm-chair quarterback has to have their say, and every parent has a list of rules for their child a mile long these days. And that undermines the coach’s authority, and teaches the kids that Mommy and Daddy will bail them out if they screw up.

    Third, related to the second, parents get overly emotional about these things. I’ve seen parents thrown out of ball games because they become violent. Do we REALLY want that at practices as well?

    Finally, but not least in significance, why shouldn’t my children and I be allowed to have different interests? Why can’t my kids pursue their hobbies, while I pursue mine? Teaching children that it’s okay to not share interests with people you’re close to is an important lesson.

  88. Julia May 5, 2017 at 8:52 am #

    I sit through practices only because we live so far out in the country that it would be pointless to go home – I would just have to turn around and come right back. However – if I have errands I can run, I will. If it is cold or rainy I sit in the car and read or something. I find these tents to be ridiculous but I haven’t actually seen any parents in them around here.

  89. Michelle May 5, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    Kimberly: “My nephew and his cousin can not ride their bikes to practice because they would have to cross I10/Katy Freeway feeder road/underpasses and ride down a 6 lane 45 mph road with no bike lane or sidewalk during Houston Rush Hour.”

    WendyW: “That’s just nuts! This is the result of building huge kids’ sports complexes with 20 soccer fields in one park. How about we put one baseball and one soccer field in each neighborhood, assign kids to their local team, and let them bike/walk/skate to practice? The get to play with their friends, or make new ones that don’t require parent managed “playdates”, and the fields are available for pick-up games at other times.”

    No, it’s the result of Houston being a giant (bigger by square miles than the NYC metro area), sprawling, spread-out, mostly suburban metro area with no zoning rules and a virtual hostility toward cyclists and pedestrians. Pretty much everything my kids want to do involves crossing I-10 or riding down a multi-lane, 45 mph (but people are really driving 65 if they can) road in rush-hour traffic. Our neighborhood is a tiny island (nowhere near big enough for a sports field) surrounded by major thoroughfares and retail, and no sidewalks (county actually has a rule against putting in new sidewalks except in between a neighborhood and a school.)

  90. pentamom May 5, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    “I was told specifically by my daughter’s baseball coach that practice was not a babysitting service and that the parents had to be there. ”

    I’m not the sort of person to actually say this in the moment, but inside, my reaction is, “Of course it’s not. Babies don’t play basketball. But my child doesn’t need to be babysat when she’s engaged in a supervised activity. She knows how to do what’s she’s told and be where she’s supposed to be.” Unless they’re working with six foot hoops, any child old enough to play basketball is old enough NOT to need to be “babysat” when engaged in an activity.

  91. pentamom May 5, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    “When he’s playing soccer or at karate – he’s under their insurance and I don’t blame organizations from requiring a parent stay.”

    How does a parent staying decrease their liability in any way? My kid can get hurt with me watching, or without.

  92. Amy O May 5, 2017 at 10:26 am #

    When my daughter played soccer, we were required to stay. I hated every minute of it. I would have loved to use that hour to go to the grocery store unaccompanied or even just get something done or whatever.

    Her dance studio, however, did NOT allow parents to stay. We were promptly kicked out. I would go and read in the car or walk around Kmart and it was the nicest hour of the week, all to myself.

  93. James Pollock May 5, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    “How does a parent staying decrease their liability in any way?”

    It cuts it to zero.

    Negligence creates liability. It’s hard to quantify, exactly, because there are a lot of variables, but insurance companies will take on the risk… for a price.

    Negligence has several required elements… duty, breach, injury, causation. The first one is the one in play. If someone takes charge of your kids… whether they get paid for it or not… they take on a duty to keep them reasonably safe from harm. They don’t have to keep the kid perfectly safe, but they do have to take reasonable precautions.

    OK. Well, when the sports league requires parents to be remain present for all activities, they’re expressly declining to take charge of the kids. This ALSO means that they aren’t taking on that duty to keep them safe. No duty means no negligence means no liability. (OK, in the real world, it isn’t actually that simple… nothing involving the legal system ever is… but they nearly completely erase their exposure to negligence lawsuits by requiring parents to remain to supervise their children. They still have to properly maintain safety gear, but they aren’t liable if the kid didn’t bother to put it on and got hurt as a result.

  94. pentamom May 5, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    Okay, I guess that makes sense. At least, it makes sense in terms of how insurance and liability work. But in that case, I hope they have the decency to make it plain that this has nothing to do with the child’s interests and everything to do with their own. The child is not benefited in any way by this, except in the sense that the league probably wouldn’t exist without this kind of cover.

  95. JJ May 5, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    I have experienced peer pressure to stay for practice but it hasn’t been required, and I only stay if I am enjoying myself. The bigger commitment is attending meets. I’ve been to track meets lasting16 hours, and they very often last 12 . For youth track, the coaches serve as officials so it’s up to the parents to keep track of the kids, as little as six years old. And because there are hundreds of events throughout the day, someone has to be listening for when the event is called ( it’s harder to figure out that you might think). I understand that swimming and gymnastics are similar. And you can’t leave because you never quite sure when your event will be called. I understand that swimming and gymnastics are similar. And practice even for the little ones, was four or five days a week and then meets on Saturdays.

  96. SKL May 5, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    Where I live, drop-offs are allowed by school age. I must say I was not the first parent in my kids’ sports to start dropping off and leaving.

    I enjoy hanging out at some of the practices. I used to go for a walk around the park when my kids were at soccer practice. I also enjoyed watching some of it. Why not? Also, their gymnastics provider is so far from my home that it doesn’t make sense to drive home and back. Sometimes I can do other things like shop or take a walk while they are in class, but other times I bring in my computer and work.

    Whatever I do has nothing to do with what other parents think they should do. That is something people need to get over, if they feel pressured by what they see other parents do. Unless I receive a notice from the People In Charge that I’m not allowed to leave my kids, I do what I want. So far, I don’t recall ever receiving such a notice.

    I do like to watch their games as much as possible. I mean, that’s part of the fun of being a parent. Plus, the kids care whether I’m there or not. I have to say, I was surprised at how much I enjoy rooting for my kids’ teams. Growing up, I wasn’t really into sports.

    To echo the OP quote, when I was a kid my parents both worked. If we wanted to do after-school extracurriculars (i.e. school sports), we had to find our own way to practices and games. The practice / playing field was some distance, not sure but definitely over a mile away. Away games, obviously farther. We all went out for some sport or other, walking down and back without parental involvement. I don’t recall my parents going to our games either. Of course there were parents who were always there – the “room mom” types – and more power to them. I do think there was some stigma since I was one of very few kids then with a working mom. I didn’t really care too much, but the coaches / gym teachers did marginalize us because they could. This was probably why I didn’t like sports much. 🙂

  97. SKL May 5, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    As for rainy day games, the tent is fine; so far I’ve mostly seen people struggle with umbrellas or hoodies. But I would rather have a bigger tent so each parent wasn’t sitting essentially alone. (Or are people not allowed to talk while on the sidelines?)

    I have to say I love watching my kids’ teams play in the rain or cold. It makes me feel like I’m raising hardy kids. 😛

  98. SKL May 5, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    Wondering – do people feel similar about non-sport extracurriculars such as instrumental music? Book club? Scouts? Chess club? Theater? What about swim team? There is no way enough space for all parents to hang around and watch the swim practices.

    My ideal would be for the kids to get themselves to & from practices on their own, but right now that isn’t realistic for most of my kids’ activities. Logisics.

    A little aside though: my kids (10yo) will be taking themselves to the chiropractor for their quarterly wellness visits going forward (at least in decent weather). I signed the papers allowing the chiro to treat them without me present. This is about 2 miles away from home and they can get there on their bikes. I was pleased that they didn’t give me a hard time about it. The doc approved; she said she recently read an article about college “kids” not being “able” to schedule their own doc visits. Now if we can figure out a workable bike route, maybe I’ll do the same with the dentist. Our other providers are too far away.

  99. SKL May 5, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    Oh, one more thing about those tents. What do people do with it after the game, when it’s all wet and muddy? Who wants that nasty thing in their car? I have to assume these are owned by minivan / SUV people, which not all of us care to be. And then I assume you don’t just leave it all folded up wet. That adds another task to deal with between games. Maybe it’s fun, setting it up in the yard on the next sunny day to dry off, letting the kids play in it or whatever. But I’m guessing it’s not as simple as it looks. 😛

  100. MichelleB May 5, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Roger the Shrubber — Fifteen years of martial arts and the worst injury my daughter ever received was a nasty bruise. I heard about a couple of broken bones over the years and usually that was an adult or older teen. I watched every single kick for the first couple of years, but after that I’d drop her off and head for the park or library with her younger siblings. Once in a while I’d poke my head in or watch through the window if they were sparring.

  101. James Pollock May 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    “But in that case, I hope they have the decency to make it plain that this has nothing to do with the child’s interests and everything to do with their own.”

    Except that’s not correct.
    Liability means liability insurance. That’s a cost that has to be passed on to participants, along with the cost of renting space to hold the games, costs of equipment, advertising costs, and sometimes, payments upstream to a regional or national organization. Lowering the cost of liability insurance does literally nothing for the organizers… the cost is passed on to their consumers. Lowering the costs makes the activity more available, both because some parents flat out can’t afford it, and because some won’t. It’s for the athletes’ benefit.

  102. test May 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    @Beth “I don’t even understand how this would work; how does one take care of their kid while the coach is running a practice; wouldn’t there be parents all over the place interfering with the activities?”

    No they did not. Parents would help with parts little ones have difficulty with – changing, going to toilet, dry hair if swimming, put on blades or skis and so on. If the kid misbehaved suddenly or cried, coach would send it to parent and cared only about the rest.

    Little kids don’t mind parents there and sometimes want them watch (mine usually wanted me to stay when I asked). I guess this changes with age, 14 years old and 4 years old are not the same.

    I think that this is one of “do it or don’t depending on kids age, personal preference and whether you can do something useful in the meantime.” Kids will grow just fine either way. Parents can have many different reasons for their choice and I would not read too much into it. Even if they simply enjoy watching practice, so what. The only way you can possibly cause harm (and even there unlikely) is if you will make too much of a big deal about it.

  103. Donna May 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    “No duty means no negligence means no liability. (OK, in the real world, it isn’t actually that simple… nothing involving the legal system ever is… but they nearly completely erase their exposure to negligence lawsuits by requiring parents to remain to supervise their children.”

    Yea, that is not true. The league/school/group still takes charge of the children during practice and still has liability for the things that occur there, regardless of who is sitting on the sidelines. There may be circumstances where both the league and the parents had a duty to the child so they are both jointly liable for any damages, but I can think of none of the top of my head that would eliminate liability for the league in total just because the parents are on the sidelines (I did not spend more than a minute or two thinking about this so some may exist).

    The only benefit as far as liability to having parents present is that much of the league’s liability is limited to the actual practice time and not the time on either side where kids are dropped off early or picked up late.

  104. Donna May 5, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    “It isn’t the coach/teacher’s responsibility to take care of the kid.”

    Yes it is. That is exactly their responsibility.

    But then again I am not sure what you mean by “care.” It is not their responsibility to blow your child’s nose, kiss his boo boos, dry his tears or wipe his butt, so if your child requires that level of “care,” you should probably stay. If your child has some out-of-the-norm behavior issues that need controlling, you should probably stay. If your child requires a higher level of supervision than that of other kids the age, you should probably stay.

    Otherwise, care normally required for a child the age being coached/taught during whatever activity is ongoing is exactly why the coaches/teachers are there. And exactly what they want to do. They don’t want you “caring’ for your kid while they are trying to coach him. My daughter and I participate in martial arts classes together. Even though I am present and often within arms reach of my child, I do not interfere with my child’s “care” during class. The instructor is in charge during class, not me. If he has a problem with her behavior, he corrects it, not me. I have bowed out twice to look at injuries (once a broken toe and once a torn off toe nail), but even then, I went back to class while someone else tended the injury.

  105. James Pollock May 5, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

    “I did not spend more than a minute or two thinking about this”

    It shows.

    If the plaintiff can’t show a duty that was breached, how long does their negligence suit last?

  106. thalassa May 5, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    The only day I even go inside to the gym is the day I have to pay… I drop mine off at the door, and text the coach when I get there for her to come outside when I’m done, and that’s only because its dark. We aren’t allowed to watch normally anyhow (like one of the other gymnastics moms said, once a month), and if I do, its because she asked or my mom was harassing me for pictures. I see what she does at her meets, and I don’t even go to all of those, not only do I work full time, I’m also in grad school…quite often she carpools with other girls and their parents or her dad takes her. With my son, its a bit different, but that’s more a matter of a shorter practice time compared to driving time…I’m not going to drive 20 minutes to drop him off, 20 minutes home, and 20 minutes back to get him for a 1 hour practice…

  107. James May 5, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

    “Oh, one more thing about those tents. What do people do with it after the game, when it’s all wet and muddy? Who wants that nasty thing in their car?”

    While I have unfortunately not had the opportunity to try these myself, I have used sun shades and other tents to keep bad weather off me. What I’ve done is load the wet tent into the vehicle, then open it up and dry it out at soon as possible. Most tents these days come with bags to carry them in, and if not a contractor garbage bag works well enough (available at any hardware store or WalMart; I use these on job sites, so usually have a box with me). It hasn’t been a huge hassle yet. Of course, for me these have been professional equipment, the care and maintenance of which is part of being a professional. Not sure I’d be willing to do all that work so I can watch my kid practice.

    The tents look like pretty low-profile pop-up deals, though; I imagine they’d fit comfortably in a trunk along with a load of groceries and the equipment for the sport your kid is in. It probably, when properly folded, would fit inside the box for a case of beer.

    ” It is not their responsibility to blow your child’s nose, kiss his boo boos, dry his tears or wipe his butt, so if your child requires that level of “care,” you should probably stay.”

    But again, that defeats a good chunk of the purpose of these activities. The kids are supposed to learn to get by on their own. I mean yeah, if the kid’s two and not potty trained, you may need to help out–but for my three-year-old? He can use a toilet. And it doesn’t hurt either to know that Mommy and Daddy won’t always be available to make the boo-boos go away. It’s a harsh lesson for a kid, but an important one. They need to learn to comfort themselves, to deal with pain and disappointment on their own. I’m not saying “Cut the cord, and ignore your three-year-old”; obviously this needs to be applied in an age-appropriate manner. I’m just saying that this is one life lesson that the presence of parents at practices actively undermines.

    If your kid needs so much care that they can’t spend an hour or two under someone else’s supervision a week, that indicates a pretty serious problem–infants and toddlers excepted, for obvious biological reasons.

  108. SKL May 6, 2017 at 1:02 am #

    Come to think of it, my kids started “sports” activities without a parent present when they were 2.5. The daycare had coaches come in for (elective) gymnastics, dance, karate, soccer, and “stretch n grow” (multi sport). [Also instrumental music for later preschool/KG.] The coach/teacher had the kids in a separate room from all other adults. Granted, if there had been an “emergency,” there were other adults who could be called to help out (the director, the cook). Parents were only expected to show up for the end-of-semester “shows.” I admit I watched the first dance class (and took a few pictures), and I peeked in to the gymnastics class a few times out of curiosity. There was no “show” or “game” for the other coached activies, so parental attendance was never expected. If you happened to be around when the coach came, you could take a gander. But generally it was better not to hang around, as it would be distracting to your kid.

  109. SKL May 6, 2017 at 1:26 am #

    Funny thing about injuries though. My kids’ injuries normally happened when I was right there, or in a freak accident. The first week of preschool, my kid was whacked by a clumsy boy and her glasses somehow cut the skin next to her eye. Nothing to do with sports. Next incident was my other kid “going to put on her shoes” and busting her head open. Another fun one occurred while rassling with the boy next door. Horses’ hooves are also good for bruises and broken foot bones. Door jambs. Coffee tables. Also school playground accidents. Statistically, sports are low on the list of injury causes for my kids.

    Why, I myself just broke my nose a couple weeks ago – on my car door. Don’t ask me how I managed that. 😛

    My kids and I do TKD together, and while I’ve had a few minor injuries over the years, I don’t recall my kids ever being injured there. As Donna said, I’m not there to “watch” my kids, I’m doing my own thing with the adults while they work with the other kids. I don’t interfere with what they are doing. The coaches have no problem telling my kids off if they need it. Also, my presence is not required; kids can and do attend class alone. But I actually want to do this sport for myself.

  110. Dingbat May 6, 2017 at 2:08 am #

    @ KB

    Same here! I started ballet in kindergarten and other than parents coming in on the first day to make sure everything was good with registration, it was a drop off and dash. My mom used that time to run errands, and for years the dance studio only had a tiny lobby.

    I took dance classes from 1980-1993 and the only time I saw a large number of parents there was when they were doing auditions for Dirty Dancing… the original movie. Several girls were picked from our studio. I was still in elementary school and a little too young for the auditions, damn it. They wanted 16 and older. The parents were not allowed to watch and most were gathered outside, awaiting the news.

    My last 2 years I noticed the lobby being remodeled and expanded, and a handful parents hanging around. With each passing year that followed I noticed more and more mothers sitting inside, until it was eventually packed. The studio maintained a strict rule that parents could not come in and watch. I heard stories about demanding dance moms and noticed they eventually had to cover all windows that gave a view into the studio itself.

    I still have no idea why they all just sat there.

  111. test May 6, 2017 at 2:10 am #

    @James I would not think about practice in those terms. They already spend most of day in daycare as sport practice tend to leave much less space for independent anything. Not being there is not more harsh then that just like being there will not instantly spoil them. In any case if the kid is likely to cry in some situation, I would stay because not doing so would force coach to divert more attention from other kids and from activity they are supposed to do. Independence lessons are more appropriate somewhere where they don’t interfer with other kids learning. I think that people should have regard for others where it does not harm them.

    I find it odd to frame sport practic in those terms anyway.My kids vent there either because they wanted to or because I wanted them to learn about the activity. Training is more about discipline and doing what you are told then independence.

  112. Dingbat May 6, 2017 at 3:21 am #

    @ Emily. Great point! I have lost count of the number of upset, angry and screaming parents constantly questioning and undermining the coaches authority over the years, and its of course much worse on game days.

    I saw this a lot with my oldest nephews. They are 27 and 29 now and both play basket religiously from grade school to college (they both received basketball scholarships). They were living in another state, but still fairly close, during their high school years so I did not get to see a lot of practices or games but I noticed very negative changes when I did. I always loved watching basketball games and admired the sportsmanship. If someone fell a person on the opposing team would always stop, rush over and extend their hand. The ceremonial “good game” always s seemed sincere as well. By the time my nephews reached high school, and played on All Star County teams, it was a blood bath. The parents screamed the whole time, everyone was angry, coaches and parents (sometimes one in the same) instructed players to physically harm their largest competitor on the court and take them out of the game. I witnessed this on several ocassions.

    By the time they reached college… they were being scratched down their face an opposing team member known as “The Bear” who kept his nails long so he could inflict damage. My nephew received 24 stitches, and the guys mom was in the stands laughing and cheering her son on. I think having parents at every practice, in some l cases, has created a lot of additional animosity and competition to be the best that is unhealthy.

    At the moment I only know 3 kids involved in a lot of practices but it’s a different situation. They play on a different county, where their mom teaches, and most of the courts/fields at their elementary school are used for practice. Their mom is typically grading papers, working on lesson plans and catching up on additional paperwork as they practice. She’s in the area… working, or walking if she’s caught up.

    I’m curious now, though. I’ll have to ask others if parents are required to stay.

  113. Donna May 6, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    “If the plaintiff can’t show a duty that was breached, how long does their negligence suit last?”

    True, that if a plaintiff cannot show a duty is breached, there can be no negligence suit. It is also a completely irrelevant statement of the law since a team/league/school, etc. has a duty to the children regardless as to whether the parents are present or not. Just like my child’s school has a duty to her whether I am volunteering in the classroom that day or not. In fact, they may increase their liability if parents are there as they have now created a bunch of spectators to whom they also have some duty.

  114. LJ May 6, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    I love SKL’s comment about what to do with muddy, wet tents after the practice is over…remember you will have an equally muddy, wet kid so there’s really no getting away from the mess (and smell) involved with transporting athletes around :). I don’t have a tent for rainy games but imagine if I did I’d just pack it up (looks collapsible) and throw it in my trunk, then dry it out like any other camping/rain gear. As for our local protocol with both the sports my kids are involved in and music lessons…drop off for practice, attend games/concerts. The times I’ve seen any parents stay at practices it’s been my guess that by the time they drive home, they would have to turn around and drive back to pick there kid up. P.s. I have yet to see these popping up at games or tournaments.

  115. James Pollock May 6, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    ” It is also a completely irrelevant statement of the law since a team/league/school, etc. has a duty to the children regardless as to whether the parents are present or not.”

    Repeating this doesn’t make it true.

    “they may increase their liability if parents are there as they have now created a bunch of spectators to whom they also have some duty.”

    What duty, exactly, would the organization have towards the parents?
    The landowner may have some liability, but even that is fairly sharply limited ( )

  116. Donna May 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    “Repeating this doesn’t make it true.”

    It was true the first time I typed it and the second time I typed it. The repetition was for your benefit, not mine.

    “What duty, exactly, would the organization have towards the parents?”

    Let’s try this one more time. The organization has a duty to conduct practices and games in a reasonably prudent manner. This duty extends to players, spectators and pretty much anyone else in the vicinity. If the coaches, as representatives of the organization, do not act as reasonably prudent coaches while coaching, the organization can be liable for any damages caused. These could be damages to the players, to the spectators, to cars parked in the parking lot nearby, to buildings nearby, and to anyone else who suffers some reasonably foreseeable damage from them not acting as reasonably prudent coaches. The presence of the parents does absolutely nothing whatsoever to absolve the coaches and organization from conducting themselves in a reasonable manner. In certain situations, parents who are present may ALSO be liable for failing to act as reasonably prudent parents, but that is a separate issue.

  117. James Pollock May 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    “The organization has a duty to conduct practices and games in a reasonably prudent manner”

    You’ve made an assumption here. The organization may have little or even no input or control over practices. That is, they don’t select, screen, or hire coaches, set or schedule practices, or provide equipment or facilities.

    ” If the coaches, as representatives of the organization…”
    You’re making another assumption, here. May I assume you’ll be repeating this one as if it were true, as well?

    ” The presence of the parents does absolutely nothing whatsoever to absolve the coaches and organization from conducting themselves in a reasonable manner.”
    Except, of course, for those cases where it does.
    Do express disclaimers work differently in Georgia than they do elsewhere?

  118. Suzanne May 6, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

    I am on the board for our local little league and know that the only parents who stay for practice are the children who are under 6. This is the majority – there are a few helicopters that stick around until they are 8 or 10. We actually decided to threaten parents who didn’t sign the medical release that they would be required to stay, only with the belief that it will get those forms turned in.

    As for the tent – the “Under the Weather” model holds a two person seat, so there is room for that sibling. I can’t imagine using it for a practice but it is on top of my “want” list for the games. Parents do generally attend the games at our league and I think that’s a good thing. My husband and I weren’t as consistent attending games until I read a post from one of my friend’s regarding attending her son’s games. She said she will always be there because she doesn’t want him to look in the stands and not have a parent there to watch him, like she did. It meant a lot to her that her parents didn’t come to watch her play youth sports. So I say no to staying at practice but let’s be there for their games. I’ll be in my private-sport-watching tent, dry and warm.

  119. Eskimo May 6, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    I always thought the requirement for parents to stay was because the coaches are afraid you’re not going to come back in time.

  120. CrazyCatLady May 7, 2017 at 1:33 am #

    Well, I am glad that the majority can leave the practice. What little we have done has required me staying. Yep, I walk around, if I stick too close I want to coach…not a good thing.

    I was in sports in high school. My mom and preschool brother came when they could. It was boring for him. It was okay when she was there, but I didn’t expect her there every game. She hadn’t been for other siblings, it was okay that she wasn’t always there for me. Most of the other parents had to work…they were not at the games. It was fine. If was my normal. I don’t know if my mother felt guilt for not coming to every game or not…there were 6 of us kids. With me, my step brother and step sister were also doing sports in school at the same time. My step sister certainly thought my mother was the wicked witch of the west, but she still came to things that she did too, because my step father could not, as he worked two hours away and stayed away during the week. My step sister is on better terms now, and I am not sure she ever held the fact that she was not at every game against my mother. Her own mother never attended a game as she never learned how to drive a car and depended on the men in her life to get her around. My father never attended any of my sports, even when we lived close to him where he could have done so. Eh. I grew up, I am fine with it. It was my normal. My normal, to do things, without my parents. Even in middle school and Title IX meant they had to start a soft ball team league for the girls. I don’t recall either of my parents attending those. It wasn’t about my parents…it was about me, and my skill, and it didn’t really matter if they were there or not.

  121. SKL May 7, 2017 at 2:45 am #

    Yeah, I don’t know whether it was just me / my family or the norm where I grew up, but I didn’t go out for softball thinking about my parents watching. It was about being on a team and trying to show my peers that I could play (which I really couldn’t, but that’s beside the point, LOL). I think I would have been shocked and possibly dismayed if my parents had shown up.

    My kids, on the other hand, do care that I see them play. They will ask me if I saw their great moment. They also like me to show up when their class teaches chapel etc. Not something my parents ever would have attended. But since I have a flexible work situation, I don’t mind coming once in a while. I also have no problem explaining “no” when I can’t.

    My kids have been on a school bowling league for the past few months. I’ve never seen them bowl. They are bused to the bowling alley, and a friend’s mom offered to drive them home (which is really nice since it ends at 4:30). Next Friday is the last day and I still am not going. I don’t know if other people judge me or not. Guessing not, because my kids are the youngest (10) and it goes through 8th grade.

  122. Warren May 7, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    As a coach my rule was simple. Stay if you want but keep your mouth shut.

  123. EB May 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Walked myself to whatever sport or other activity I was involved in. Walked myself home. End of story. I don’t think my parents (of 4 kids) ever saw any of our games, since they were always before dinner on week days. Saturday swim meets, my Mom showed up since they involved driving to another town.

  124. Laura Alves May 7, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

    We have 2 sons (age 8 & 11) in traveling soccer. Sometimes their games are 45 minutes to an hour from our house. Since a game lasts about an hour, we obviously stay and watch. I’d love to sit in a personal tent on the days when there’s inclement weather (which is often since we live in Northern Wisconsin). As far as practice…we NEVER stay for practice. We carpool with other parents, so nobody stays.

  125. S.R. May 7, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    My son, aged 5, played soccer for the first time this spring. I don’t know if its required, but we stay for practices because it’s 20+ minutes away and there’s nowhere close by to go. If. Either of my children get greatly involved in outside sports, I will probably get something like this because I hate cold weather and rain. My mom came to every band competition and softball game and I really appreciate that now.

  126. Mya Greene May 8, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    If you think this is bad, just look at what is required of parents for music lessons. If your kid does the Suzuki method, you are not only expected to be at every private lesson for the entsure duration, but you also have to take notes for the child, AND you are expected to supervise and direct all home practice. Then, when your kid is ready for music camp, quite a few camps require parents to fly with their kid, room with them for at least a few weeks, and accompany them to the dining hall, lessons, studio class, and rehearsal. It’s a tiger parent’s dream.

  127. BMS May 8, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    My son was only in little league for a year (thank all the Gods), but I never got into the habit of staying for practices. My presence was distracting, and it was boring. I dropped off and returned. I went to games (also boring, IMHO), but practices, no. Now both kids are into hockey, but I still only go to games. I have other things to do.

  128. PMc May 8, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    I coach youth football. We do not require parents to stay for practice…actually we prefer that they don’t…they are a distraction. There are some parents however that hang around and hover over their kids: they tie their kid’s shoes, hold their water bottles, help them with their equipment, etc. We want our players to help each other rather than have mommy or daddy help them. We want our players helping each other to aid in team building. Then there are the parents that interfere with our coaching…but that’s another issue!

  129. Jenny Islander May 8, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Former dance mom here. We were expected to stay for the wee tots’ classes because, as another poster said, they needed help in the bathroom, but we were specifically told not to stay for the older students because we were distracting them. One parent or other responsible adult was expected to sit in the corridor outside the green room during performances because otherwise there would be several hundred unattended kids messing around out there. That part was fun, if noisy; we each spread blankets/brought camp chairs and laid out snacks, electronics, games, etc.

  130. DeeDee May 8, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    I drop my 6 year old off for 1.5 hour soccer practice once a week. I make sure I see him run on to the field and that the coach is there, then leave. Most of the parents on the team do this. Never saw this tent thing!

  131. James May 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm #


    “Independence lessons are more appropriate somewhere where they don’t interfer with other kids learning.”

    I would argue that a coach who can’t handle a kid acting like a kid (and for 3-4 year olds crying is normal) is incompetent.

    As for “independence lessons”, I find it very strange that you would separate these out from normal activities. No one’s sitting there saying “Okay class, today we’re going to learn Independence”. It’s a mentality, one that’s built over countless activities and constantly re-shaped. And if other kids are there, so much the better in terms of learning the lesson–peer pressure is a powerful thing. No, I’m not saying that I support bullying or other such nonsense; I’m just saying that if a boy hears his friends say that his tantrum kept them from doing an activity, that boy is less likely to throw a tantrum.

    The whole point of organized sports is to teach kids things like independence, teamwork, responsibility, and the like. To attempt to dissociate these activities from their purpose is to make them meaningless at best. At worst, it’s a way for parents to live vicariously through their kids. (The number of kids who make a living playing sports is so low that arguing about them being useful for the kids’ future is akin to saying that lottery tickets are a good investment strategy–and as for college, I’ve seen college athletics programs, and have nothing but contempt for them. They do their students a gross disservice, and are little more than ways for the college to make money off students they often flagrantly fail to educate.)

  132. test May 10, 2017 at 2:35 am #

    @James “I would argue that a coach who can’t handle a kid acting like a kid (and for 3-4 year olds crying is normal) is incompetent.”

    Nobody said the coach “cant handle” crying kid. I said the coach “this particular child tends to cry too much and it is considerate to minimize impact on lesson for other kids”. Some clubs even would exclude such a kid.

    “The whole point of organized sports is to teach kids things like independence, teamwork, responsibility, and the like. To attempt to dissociate these activities from their purpose is to make them meaningless at best.”

    No it is not for many parents and coaches and even many children. When I signed my kids for skiing, I wanted them to become better at skiing. That is why I paid money for it. I would not need organized sport for independence nor responsibility. There is nothing independent about doing what coach says. Soccer club is there to focus on soccer as effectively as possible, math club is there to focus on teaching math as effectively as possible, same with dancing clubs and so on. The activities are designed for the purpose of teaching the activity itself and adults who organize them see activity itself as valuable.

    The purpose is either “make kids better at activity” or “make kids like activity”. Some parents hope that it will also teach them responsibility or independence, but that is not primary purpose.

    “I’m just saying that if a boy hears his friends say that his tantrum kept them from doing an activity, that boy is less likely to throw a tantrum.”

    Once in a while that happens. More often however, other kids mimic behavior or have some side fun meanwhile because 3-5 is impulsive and don’t think things through.

  133. Michelle May 10, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    My child is 4 and I started dropping him off at his classes already. He is NOT alone/without adults around and if he should get hurt, I have my phone on me. It’s also never just one adults, the coach, at this level, has a volunteer helping and of course there are parents galore. It feels wonderful to finally be able to take the baby for a walk or go shopping while he does his thing. He is homeschooled so this is his socialization and sitting for everything was such a waste of time. He got distracted watching me, showing off to me, wanting me to help him etc. Now when he was only 3 I did stay because he was so young but this year he could be in PreK all day with one teacher and one aid so an hour with one coach and one volunteer should be fine. Call me crazy but being by himself at his activities has done wonders for him. He seems to feel much more capable and his confidence has gone up.

  134. asunnyweb May 13, 2017 at 10:32 pm #

    Yes, we are expected to be at practices and stay by the other parents at least. My stepson’s football practices were every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 PM and games were Saturday mornings at about 8 AM. It took 45 minutes to get to practice and 45 minutes to get home. That’s 3.5 hours 3 days a week. Whether rain, shine, cold, 99° degree heat with a heat index well over 100 even.

    I left several times to run errands but felt guilty and judged when I did. I almost think they purposely let practice out early when I was gone just to shame me with a “where are you” phone call. It’s incredibly boring.

    Maybe that’s, at least partially, why parents are so obnoxious about their kids’ sports games nowadays. They really DO have a lot invested. When my kid was lazy and had a bad attitude or was disrespectful to me or the coaches, it really did piss me off because I have way better things to do with my time than watch 8 year olds drop balls and mess up plays. Who doesn’t?

    This year we’re going with a team closer to home and I’ll be dropping him off and returning home or running errands at least half the time. And if his attitude remains ugly we won’t be going at all. The future of the NFL will just have to figure out how to survive without him, oops, I mean without us.