As a parent of a child interested in sports, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Many veteran youth sports parents will tell you that it’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. That’s why there’s so much pride in being the parent of a sports-loving child. Being proud of their achievements also goes along with being proud of your own for putting all that work in.

Support comes in many forms, though. Some are more tangible, while others are emotionally leaning. First and foremost, being a youth sports parent means loving your child, loving your duties and being as positive as possible.

Meet Their Nutritional Needs

One of your main duties is making sure that your child is taken care of off the field. A coach may be the one who gets a child physically trained, but that doesn’t mean youth sports don’t come with homework. This means at-home exercise regimens and eating a proper diet that’s fitting of an athlete.

Your child may have some responsibility to make their own good choices when it comes to food and working out, but you have to guide them to make these good choices. Enforce those routines and make proper meals that will keep your child healthy. Keep fast food and lazy lunch snack foods to a minimum.

Keep On Top of Their Schedule

A child athlete has a lot going on. There are practices, games, special practices, meetings, try outs, get-togethers. Unless they’re an older teen who can drive themselves to all of these events, it’ll be you behind the wheel as a chauffeur. Even if you get another parent to car pool, getting ready and making sure you remember the schedule is just as important as finding a way to get them where they need to be.

Always Try to Make it to Games

Some parents feel like because there are so many games or meets in a particular season, they don’t need to make it to every single one. While you should allow leeway for work and other serious obligations, a child feels more supported and proud of themselves when they hear a parent cheering them on from the sidelines.

On a similar note, if you ARE a parent who does try to make it to every sports event your child has to attend, remember some basic sideline etiquette. Don’t be vulgar, rude or overly loud and remember to support all children present, not just the ones on “your team.”

Give Them Reassurance

Make sure that after every game, you tell your child that you’re proud of them. Whether they scored 20 points or warmed the bench, reassure them. Ask them if they saw any good plays and why they worked, and further converse about the highlights of the game.

Children love to make their parents proud. When they know you’re proud of them, they have better self-esteem, a better work ethic and are likely to perform better during their future games.