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Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone

7 Signs Kids’ Sports Have Taken Over Your Life (and Your Budget)

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My name is Felipe Guedes and I am a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu professor at Gracie Barra San Clemente. I see the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as simply a part of each child’s formal education, not only a sport but also a powerful tool for individual development. The same way they go to school year round, they should also study Jiu-Jitsu. There is no quitting in either one until they accomplish their graduation (University/College and Black Belt).

Both school and Jiu-Jitsu combined promotes a perfect lifestyle that nurses knowledge acquirementcharacter development, critical thinking, healthy habits, leadership skills, self defense, confidence, and humility. 

It is ok for you to want your kids to experience different sports or activities to see if they would flourish or even find they higher call, but it has to be one at a time. Often I see kids who attend school, train Jiu-Jitsu, practice football, then basketball, then baseball, then junior life guards, then hockey, then piano classes, then swimming, etc… all at once! It is way too many activities for the child and for the parent as well. Besides all of that there is homework time as a priority and of course every child also needs some time to just be a kid. What ends up happening is that the child never gets to excel at any specific activity, and the level of stress between the child and the parents are extremely high; and we are not even mentioning the second, third or fourth child in the mix… some of the moms are super heroes juggling all of that!

I believe that a balanced life with the correct number of activities is crucial for the child’s overall physical and mental health.

Priorities: 1) School + Homework;   2) Jiu-Jitsu;   3) Extra sport or activity if necessary;   4) Play time

Before you had kids, spring weekends were magical. You slept in late, enjoyed afternoon brunch, and strolled through the local farmers’ market humming I’m Walking on Sunshine.

That’s how you remember it anyway.

Now, spring weekends are a hurricane of activity. They start with 8 a.m. soccer games, peak at sub-standard fast food joints, and end with some angry parent shouting at a Little League referee.

Youth sports are great in theory. But in practice, they can take over your life.

Here are seven signs your kids’ sports may be overrunning your life—and your wallet.

1. The sales guy at Sports World knows you by name

From ballet shoes to hockey helmets, every sport has its stuff. And the more sports your kids are in, the more stuff you’re constantly buying—and they’re constantly outgrowing.

For the sake of your budget (and your sanity), pick just one or two sports and then shop used, trade with other parents, or have your kids buy a portion of their own equipment. If you can’t afford the stuff, you can’t afford the sport.

*Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most simple sports when it comes down to equipment. Your child will only need a uniform (Gi and rash guard) around $170 and that will last you an average of one year! And the monthly tuition price is basically a family dinner.

2. You haven’t seen your spouse all weekend

In order to squeeze in all those games, you and your spouse must divide and conquer. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet up again at 8 p.m. to sleep through another movie night on the couch together.

Before your kids sign up for that next sport they’re “dying” to play, check out the time commitment. If it’s too much, tell your child so, and explain that family time comes before sports time.

We’ve all done it. You’re so busy shuttling kids from ballet to hockey to tennis that you forgot about food—again. So you end up blowing the food budget on hamburgers and chicken nuggets instead of a decent meal together.

*With Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the schedule is always constant year round with no surprises, making it easy for the parents to plan their week and child’s activities. The commitment is only two hours per week and there is even an extra third class on a Saturday morning called “Parents & Kids” that promotes some family quality time where the kids bring their parents to train with them.

3. Your diet consists of meat, potatoes and grease

It sounds simple, but you must train yourself to pack lunches—and have the kids help! This will give you more time together and more money. After the game, steal an hour away for a family picnic in the park.

*One of the strongest parts of the Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle is to be healthy and to eat healthy. The theme is constantly mentioned at the end of class messages and stimulate the kids to always make good choices. Furthermore, the classes starts at 3:10pm and the last one finishes around 6:00pm, just in time for dinner at home.

4. Traveling nonstop for travel teams

Travel teams have become increasingly popular for parents who want their kids to be the best and have the best. But these ultra-competitive teams cost more than uniforms and meals out. They cost gas money, hotel rooms and your entire weekend, not to mention a nearly year-round schedule.

If you’re on a serious budget, travel teams may have to go. There are plenty of great, local teams for your star athlete to shine.

*In Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition is only part of the whole experience. Not all kids are obligated to compete, they will do at their own pace, so all tournaments are merely optional. If the child is part of the Kids Competition Team, they can compete at maximum once a month.

5. Skipping church or family events to attend games

Your kids are watching you. If you’re constantly showing them that sports trump church or family functions, they may begin to see themselves (and their sport) as the center of the universe. When skipping the occasional church service or family cookout becomes a habit, it can set the wrong example for your kids. Be a role model with your time as well as your resources.

*In Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the students learn that commitment and goal setting skills are vital qualities to achieve success in life. The belt system helps them to exercise that specific quality and the “no quitting spirit”. The students have their next belt as their short term goal and commitment. And that transfers to all areas of their life especially the most important ones like church and family events. 

6. Stealing from your necessities

A “Sports” category at your monthly budget is a great way to budget for this busy season. And don’t let sports take over money from other categories like food and clothing, it is very important to maintain your initial plan and don;t change your budget on the middle of the month.

Find a way to cut costs if you’re constantly borrowing from other categories. Be honest with your kids if you can’t afford an activity. Invite them to the next budget committee meeting so they see the family’s bigger financial goals.

*In Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu your expenses are easily controlled since there are not too many variables. 

7. You’re more excited than they are

Have you stopped to consider your kids may not even really like some of these sports? Maybe they liked them two seasons ago, but now they’re just playing to please you.

Have a chat with your kids before registration starts and gauge their enthusiasm for the sport, team and coach.

Kids are resilient, so no matter if you have to cut an activity or skimp on sports equipment, they’ll survive. Base hits are great, but so are family bike rides in the park. Those are the priceless moments you’ll want to relive.

*Use Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a way for your child to experience an individual, as well as, a team sport. Beyond this, use it as a way of self improvement, as a way of fun, as a way to improve their social skills and community awareness, as a way to bond as a family, and much more!!

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