Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer

Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer

“This post was sponsored by Mondelez International as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my review.”

Are you a Soccer Mom? Do your kids love playing sports? It's not just about the love of the game, but the lessons that come along with it. Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer

Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer

I remember the first time the twins played organized sports. They were about six years of age, with a high amount of energy. When I received their Autism diagnosis at the age of 18 months, I told myself then, “my boys will be able to do anything they want to do!” I knew we would have challenges and disappointments, but I did not let it stop me from helping them accomplish goals and learn life lessons.

I signed the boys up for a community soccer league through our township. They were both excited to play. They didn’t understand a lot about the game, lacked a lot of the necessary motor skills to keep up with their peers, and socially stood out; but they had fun. They also had a coach who understood their needs and made sure they were part of the team. I remember standing on the sidelines with tears running down my face, happy. Happy to see them both being brave to try out a new “thing”. Happy to see them both being included and feeling a part of the team. Many times, kids on the spectrum get left out because they are socially awkward, or not able to keep up physically with their peers. And, all we want as Parents is for our kids to feel included and accepted. The twins played in each soccer game and stuck with it the whole season.

Zayd’n, the youngest, also started out playing soccer in the local community league. He loved playing soccer with his friends, and also joined the school’s soccer team. During the school year, it is challenging to keep up with schoolwork, sports, and family activities. However, I feel it is important for children to be able to spread their wings and try new things. Even if they don’t continue to stick with it, we should always encourage them to try something new.

[Tweet “I feel it is important for children to be able to spread their wings and try new things. “]

Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer

Watching all three of the boys play in organized sports, such as soccer, taught me a few things. Here are Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer.

  1. Let the kids be kids. Many Parents can get real ugly at games. I understand the urge to be competitive, but you have to be balanced. You cannot push your kids to the point of being too competitive where they will want to win by any means necessary. At the end of the day, we should encourage our children to learn the game and have fun!
  2. Be there. It’s important to be present with our kids in their moment. If we’re not there, we miss out. We miss their only goal of the season, their block, kick, & save. When our kids accomplish something, they are looking at us for approval. Even when we’re at the games, we need to be THERE, meaning not on our phones or waiting in the car. I am guilty of all these things and have missed out on a few moments because I was not there.
  3. Be in tune with your kids. As parents, we need to make sure we’re reading our kids’ body language. I don’t let my boys give up when things get hard, but there are moments when they need a break. We are their biggest supporters and advocates, so it’s important we know exactly how our children are feeling, or when they may need something from us.
  4. Snacks. Always make sure you have water for your kids, and snacks. Usually, a parent will volunteer to make a snack schedule for all the parents to sign up and bring something. Be sure to contribute and do your part to help ensure your child has a good soccer experience. I usually like to bring small water bottles, peeled oranges, yogurt or the multipacks, such as OREO cookies, RITZ BITS crackers, and CHIPS AHOY! cookies.
  5. Teachable moments. In every aspect of life, we will find teachable moments to pass on to our kids. When they lose a game, we can teach them how to congratulate the other team with their heads held high. When they win, we can teach them how not to be boastful and have a big ego. We can teach our children to show love and respect to their peers, opposing team and coaches.

Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer-6

The boys also learned valuable lessons when they played soccer:

  1. They learned what it meant to be on a team. Many times it is easy for kids just to think about themselves. When the boys played soccer, they learned what it meant to be a part of a team. There is no I in team, but each person working together towards a goal– literally.
  2. Responsibilities. Playing soccer also taught them to be responsible. They had to learn how to juggle homework and soccer practices. They came to an understanding of not thinking about playing video games, etc. when they got out of school, but getting their work done first.
  3. Physical benefits. One of my reasons for encouraging the boys to play a sport is getting outside and being active. For the twins, playing soccer helped them gain more fine motor skills and growth development. When they would come home at night, they would take showers and go straight to bed. Having a full day of school, homework and soccer wore them out. And I loved it!
  4. The challenge of trying something new. Trying out a new sport was a huge problem for the twins. But I am proud of them. They didn’t understand the game but stuck with it. Even when I could see the frustration on their faces, they kept going back out there and trying again. And as parents, we have to support that. We have to continue to be their biggest cheerleaders, even when they make a goal for the wrong team!
  5. Character. Kids are going to have moments of frustration, excitement, anger, happiness, etc. throughout their experience. These moments can help define their character and developmental growth. When the boys would get upset about losing a game, or someone being too aggressive with them, this allowed us, their parents to teach them how to feel and react to those moments. Kids will learn it’s not always about winning, but having a good time. They will also learn to celebrate those moments, both wins and losses.

Overall, they had an enjoyable learning experience playing soccer. Learning how to be part of a team, personal and physical growth, and learning to pass the love around were all part of their life lessons in soccer. As the Official Snacks of U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer, the maker of OREO cookies, RITZ BITS crackers, and CHIPS AHOY! Cookies Multipacks has announced the third year of the #PassTheLoveBack soccer program.

Life Lessons You {& the kids} Learn From Playing Soccer-1

The Pass The Love Back soccer program is aimed to bridge the divide and offer communities nationwide the opportunity to have the funding and enhancements necessary to enjoy the game.  The boys played in a community program. The parents had to pay for uniforms and a registration fee. However, having extra money to go towards soccer equipment would be nice, lessening the burden on the Coach and parents.

If you are part of a community soccer program, I recommend passing this information on to the coach to sign up for a chance to earn $1,000 toward custom T-Shirts or a team donation. {Only soccer teams will be eligible to apply for sponsorship. This offer is valid through 5/31/16}

Pass the Love Back Soccer Program

And be sure to stop by your grocery store to pick up a few boxes of OREO cookies, RITZ BITS crackers, and CHIPS AHOY! Cookies Multipacks with the special labels on them. The boys love these snacks for soccer, and their lunchboxes.

Do your kids play soccer or another sport? What are some life lessons you and they have learned from playing an organized sport? Feel free to leave me a comment below.

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