It is with mixed emotions that I am now a “synchro-mom.” I am getting used to spending Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings at local high-schools with pools with deep-ends and microphones blaring techno music—under water. (Carpooling may soon free up some of those times…)
Part of helping children be healthy and happy is providing opportunities for them to move and be active in fun ways. Along with trips to the park and the local ice-rink or pool and rec centers*, I’ve looked for more organized sports opportunities. I loved being on a swim team (largely for the summer dances with tater tots and DJs that happened after the meets), and running gave me a level of fitness and confidence I could not have achieved with the day to day outdoor play. In high-school soccer, I learned to play with a team, and lose with grace (we were pretty bad.)
M has been less-than-enthused about: karate, tap dancing, creative movement (she was two, it was hysterical), and she has outright refused: swim-team, soccer and hockey. I don’t think kids have to do organized sports to be healthy and happy, but it can be a fun way to move and is a wonderful option. It was amazing to watch her face light up as she got out of the pool (okay, was dragged out) after the first practice. She declared, “Mom, I’m a synchro girl!” (Only later did I find out this involves “knoxing” her hair into a hard little waterproof helmet, which we do for the first time this weekend…) Team sports can help build social confidence, or give an outlet for a social child.
Why I love synchro:
1) Only one week-night practice. Swim team and other sports are usually three nights per week, and I won’t give up my family dinners without a fight. I like them too much, and I have to walk my talk as a childhood feeding specialist. (It throws off our routine, which we thrive on, but it’s worth it. We eat dinner at 4:30 on Tuesdays, instead of a snack a little earlier. She gets home right before 8 pm, usually famished, and has a second go at dinner, sometimes eating it from a thermos in the car.)
2) Our coach is amazing. No nutrition talk, or talk about bodies. Just encouragement and teaching skills.
3) Girls of different ages support one another. I love that the high-school girls are expected to take time to teach the newbies how to do a “walk-over” or “pretty lady.” (I know, I am adjusting to a sport with a move called “pretty lady.”)
4) It builds her skills with listening, following, and eventually teaching others. She relies on her teammates, and down the line will likely perform in smaller and individual aspects as well.
5) There is fun music.
6) There is a level of athleticism and aerobic activity that builds fitness and endurance—without breaking a sweat!
7) At least on this team, there are a variety of body shapes and skill levels.
We’ll see how this plays out, but for now it’s awesome! Has your child found “their sport” yet? How do you deal with the demands of practice and family dinners?
*This is easier for some than others due to financial, time and location concerns, I can only share my experiences here…