When your daughter is scheduled for a weekend full of games for a softball tournament (or soccer, lacrosse, or any outdoor spring sports tournament) in a town away from home, it can be challenging for the other kids in your family (and let’s face it, sometimes for you) to look forward to a day of games in the hot sun.
The softball tournament season is here, don’t despair. Your other children did not sign up for a weekend after weekend of softball binge-watching! So don’t be surprised if you are dragging them along for the ride and they are coming kicking and screaming.
What do you do? Here are 7 tips to help make softball tournaments and games, or your other favorite outdoor spring/summer sports game, something the entire family can look forward to.
Life is a Picnic: watching a softball tournament – picnic style
If you can watch on a picnic blanket laid out in the shade vs the sitting on hard bleachers in the stands, it can create a more casual laid back experience for the other kids (and for you too).
Pack a couple of picnic blankets and folding chairs with a canopy to bring with you to the softball tournament. Now your kids can lay-out and mom and dad can watch in comfort from the chairs.
It’s not a Picnic without some Food
Bring food to eat and lots of it. Nothing keeps kids happier than a cooler full of chow and drink.
A cooler with fresh cut-up fruit, watermelon, grapes, fruit salad is a wonderful alternative to junk food at the concession stands. Pack plenty of water for the day too.
Save some money by packing your lunch. The How To Best Prepare Your Car For Travel Softball post will help you with some ideas of picnic-friendly things to pack for games.
But this post called Healthy Game Day Snacks to Make You Queen of the Cooler has over 50 healthy snack ideas for pre-game, bench snacks, and post-game snacks for your athlete and the rest of your family too!
For your family fans, try sneaking in your cooler a few special treats they are not typically allowed to snack on during the week, as their reward for enduring having to sit through three softball games on a Saturday! Maybe it’s gummy bears or marshmallows. Something fun that they can associate with tournaments and being rewarded.
Relax the rules on devices during the softball tournament for your other kids
If your household is a bit like ours and you have limits on how much time your kids can spend on their electronic devices, perhaps you can relax the rules a bit on a day with 8 hours of softball on the schedule. Those long days can sometimes happen on these tournaments with an 8 am game and then a 3 pm game.
By no means do I mean to suggest that you should let your kids be on their phones or iPads for 8 hours. But if your rule is 2 hours for a day, maybe let it be 3?
This might make it a treat for your kids to sit through the game and you never know, they might realize softball (and real-life) is more exciting to watch than their games. Maybe.
Other Boredom busting ideas for watching softball tournaments
Bring a Book for your kids to read, play cards with your kids while you watch, or encourage them to bring homework to catch up on while they are laying out on the blanket.
For the little ones bring a favorite toy, doll, or truck. And of course, their own glove and ball to play with and pretend they are their hero, big sister.
Speaking of your little one… Playground time!
If you are lucky enough to be at a field with a playground near it, be sure to take the little one over there to tire them out in between games.
Then let them crash on the picnic blanket or stroller when it’s nap time. If they are properly tired, hopefully, they will fall asleep without too much trouble. Hopefully.
Reward loyalty with a fun time
Reward everyone for hanging in there and cheering on their sister with a fun activity after the game.
Ice Cream Cones? Movies? Or local Amusement Park!
One tournament this summer is in the same town as our favorite Amusement Park. You know where we are going to try to head after the games, don’t you? I can’t wait! And neither can the kids.
That is an easy way to get the kids to look forward to a tournament weekend.
If your kids are true fans of their sister and her sport, reward them with softball gear to sport to the field. Check out 28 Fabulous Gifts for Softball Players for some fun ideas.
Be prepared for weather changes
Weather can be unpredictable. You might expect clouds, but it may become quite sunny and hot, or you might think it is supposed to be clear when a windy storm rolls in.
Keep your car prepared for anything. Having layers of clothes and blankets in the car can help prevent discomfort from ruining your day. A child gets a cut, first aid to the rescue. Biting flies attacking, bug spray to the rescue. Sun in your eyes, extra visors, and hats to the rescue.
Keep prepared and everyone will be more comfortable and you will save the day, SuperMom!
That wasn’t so hard, now was it?
So the next time you have a tournament weekend, plan ahead and allow it to be a relaxed casual affair that the entire family can look forward to.
For tips on how to pack a car for travel softball or any traveling sport that takes you away from your hometown, check out The Best Basic Travel Softball Car Packing List post.
To finally get a hold of your life during this massively busy time for every family, check out The Frazzled Mom’s Epic Guide to Softball Season.
Don’t forget Healthy Game Day Snacks to Make You Queen of the Cooler is a must-read for great tips for your shopping list.
P.S. Feeling like a packrat when you head to travel softball games? Pick up the Best Basic Travel Softball Packing List and get organized for good! ?
Travel Softball can suck the life out of you when you are 45 minutes from home at an away game or tournament and you realize you forgot sunscreen, the alternate uniform, and the phone charger.
Would you like a checklist you can go through to be confident you have what you need, packed, organized and ready to go?
The Best Basic Travel Softball Packing List is for you. This will be a checklist you will use every season to make sure you are prepared.
Share it with other softball moms and teammates too!
Pick it up in the Resource Library below.
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.