Early morning weekend sport can be an absolute drain. There are days of wild winds, of torrential rain and bitter biting cold. There are days when it is wet and miserable and you check your phone every two seconds praying for a message to say the field is closed and you can go back to bed.
And yet each weekend, we parents drag ourselves out of bed to watch and smile and cheer our kids on. And we love it. Once we’re out of bed.
Every family has its own survival tips. Here’s a few my fellow parents were willing to share…
My biggest tip. Coffee. Always. No exception. Build in extra time to grab a coffee from the cafe on the way.
Not a coffee drinker? Make and take a thermos of tea.
Dress appropriately. A ski jacket is totally appropriate. So are ski boots. Trust us, you’ll thank us.
Parents from Melbourne tell us: “If you don’t wear a beanie - you’re stuffed”
Invest in a good pair of gum boots. They are brilliant for wading across muddy ovals.
Always have a golf umbrella in the car. There’s something about weekend sport that brings on the rain.
Snacks. For little ones on the sidelines. “Always shared. Always appreciated.”
Lay out the sport uniform the night before. Make sure you can find the socks. Hopefully they are not in the cupboard, crusty and stinking from the weekend before.
Buckets. So many parents have a bucket in their car. Or a big plastic tub. Pack it with the snacks and small toys to keep the little ones busy. Then after the match use it to shove in all the stinky, muddy boots. Then empty the bucket straight into the washing machine when you get home.
Put a towel in the car. You may be able to huddle under an umbrella on the sidelines, but the kids on the field will be drenched. Then shove the towel in the bucket.
Take a picnic rug with you for younger kids to sit on.
Grab some camping chairs for the kids or for you and your friends.
Be encouraging. Get behind the team and get to know the other parents.
Take coins for the sausage sizzle. It will save you making lunch.