As a farm kid, being active wasn’t a choice. While we may not have been in sports, we rarely had time to be bored or lazy. When HockeyDad and I talked about our kids, the intention was to raise active kids. But y’all, not one person warned me about how busy boys are. I mean, I know girls are active and can be just as chaotic as boys. But when I put my boys beside my nieces, my boys will be climbing the walls, piling all over one another, making fart noises and laughing like lunatics.
Meanwhile, my nieces are playing with their dolls or drawing pictures. Quietly.
Having said that, they also wade right in and hold their own with the boys. But they do occasionally stop moving.
Not my boys. That’s the key difference.
People did warn me, however, about the volume of food they will eat. Well it’s no wonder with the amount of energy they expend in a day.
When I volunteered as team manager for Boy #3’s hockey team, I had to take Respect In Sport for Activity Leaders. In addition to the fundamentals, it covered how important four key areas were for an athlete’s overall health. While none of it was new information, it was a good reminder to get back to basics of raising active kids.
The bane of just about every parent’s existence. The constant and somewhat epic battle that is meal time. All three of my boys are champion snackers. And they will opt for healthy choices just as often as they will go for the “treats”. This has always been a comfort to me because at least they are getting healthy things at some point during the day. But I would like to sit them down to a plate of food at lunch or dinner without all hell breaking loose.
In our house, the rule is that they have to take a bite of everything. From there, we decide on how many bites is enough to consider them finished with dinner. We are slowly winning this battle. Boy #1 is a good eater now. Boy #2 is on his way to eating just about everything. I still can’t get him to eat cooked carrots, but he’ll eat raw carrots, so close enough. With Boy #3, the Meal Wars rage on.
If you are getting mostly healthy things into their bellies, you’re winning the war. And as long as you’re still trying, you’re still fighting the battle. Or so I keep telling myself.
I am not a religious woman, but I will thank whatever deity you present me with for blessing me with excellent sleepers. I honestly have no idea how it happened. Their early months weren’t a walk in the park, but all three were sleeping through the night by 14 months. And now, they go to sleep fairly easily and generally stay asleep. Not counting last night, of course. Last night we had a small furnace crawl in with us and kick HockeyDad out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. But that’s not a regular occurrence.
- For your Initiation player, they need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep a day.
- Novice, Atom, and Peewee players need somewhere between 9 and 11 hours.
- Bantam and up need 8 to 10 hours, only slightly more than the recommended amount for adults.
This is one area that I struggle with for myself. So for the time being, it’s do as I say, not as I do. But I’m working on it. Typically, my kids will choose water to drink, though they do enjoy juice and milk with meals. Between meals, they will often go to the washroom (where they can reach the tap) and get themselves a drink of water when they need it. Much like Meal Wars, the battle to drink enough water is an ongoing one.
- For Initiation and Novice players, one litre is the recommended minimum. Though when they are on the ice or otherwise exerting themselves significantly, you might want to go over that threshold. I have found that most kids are fairly good at listening to their bodies, so I tend to take the thirst cues from them.
- Atom and Peewee players should be drinking a minimum of 1.5 litres.
- Bantam and up are the same as adults, with 8 to 10 glasses (or 2 litres) being recommended for their age group.
This is where hockey (or any organized sport) is a wonderful thing. Health Canada recommends that all kids get a minimum of 60 minutes of activity each day. This is no small feat in the middle of the Canadian winter when temperatures average -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit for my American friends) and can drop as low as -40 or more. So hockey gets us two hours of the seven each week, regardless of the weather outside. Score.
If you ever have doubted that recommendation, just come and hang out at my house after three straight days of bad weather. I promise you’ll understand how important activity is then. They sleep better when they’ve been busy during the day. They eat better and drink more water.
One last point, it’s really easy to put their needs first and forget your own. You can’t possibly keep up with them when you feel tired, dehydrated and run down. While you are raising active kids, remember the best thing you can do for them is set a good example. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep. Drink water.
Yes, I’m mom’ing you. You can reciprocate in the comments section. I am as guilty of ignoring my own needs as the next parent.
See you at the rink.