We have 3 daughters with ages 10, 4, and 2. They all love sports, but each one seems to excel at different things. It has not been cheap to find their sport of choice. With the youngest 2, we are still learning which sports and activities they really enjoy. Modern busy parents may find it difficult devoting a lot of time and money, but sports can be a powerful influence towards positive youth development.
When, Where, and How Should We Begin?
My 2 youngest love sports -- in fact, I believe my 4 year old may just be destined for the Junior Ninja Warrior. She loves to climb, jump on stuff, and get down in the dirt. She has a knack for soccer and dance. When combined, the two activities are around $100 a month. My youngest actually surpasses both her older sisters in her soccer skills and is really good with ballet, but that is another $100 a month. To top it off, both younger girls are doing tee ball this spring at $150 each for 2-3 months.
In the next 3 months alone, we will spend $500 on softball / tee ball, $135 on ballet, and $90 on dance. That is not taking into account the bats, gloves, helmets, balls, and clothing that they will all need to be able to participate. Additionally, we will need to supply some post-game snacks and contribute to any other team events.
When all is said and done, we will likely be out $1,000 for youth sports in just a quarter of the year. This adds up over the long run! The time costs also add up with practices, games, and events. We always hope that our investment is worth the trouble, but sometimes the children just don't enjoy a particular sport or excel enough to advance into higher levels of competition.
Finding the Right Fit
My oldest daughter has tried a variety of organized activities: soccer (definitely not her strong suit), cross-country (keeps improving each year), softball (fairly good), gymnastics (we love her, but the klutz runs strong with this child -- so nope), and horseback riding (needs a longer attention span to excel). All of these things cost money and some of them she did not even like. While I wanted to keep her doing horseback riding, costs started to add up quickly... $120 a month, $150 for 2 months of gymnastics, $75 for 2 months of cross-country, $200 for 2-3 months of softball, and the list goes on.
This is just for one child! Some of these activities overlapped with 3 at a time. Not only was I paying for the sports, but I needed to take into account what my time was worth, gas prices, wear and tear on my vehicle (some sports you need to drive to get to), and food. I wanted her to try out as many sports as possible, but honestly my wallet screamed NO, especially once her sisters started getting more active.
More Value for Your Time and Money
The lifetime benefits of sports are undeniable, but mounting costs force many parents to make difficult decisions regarding participation. Nearly 20% of U.S. families spend more than $12,000 a year, or $1,000 per month, on youth sports, per child, according to a TD Ameritrade survey
This post has only been about the costs of our children's sports and activities. Like many busy working families, we also have weekly-monthly daycare costs and hope to have enough left over to cover the cost of a babysitter so we could finally have a date night (been 4 years since that has happened). Time is also hard to come by, but we want to set up our kids for the best chance of success and happiness.
Our goal at Athleticademy is to not just focus on one sport, but a multitude of sports and activities. We want to enable parents to easily let their children try and learn different sports to figure out what they like and where they excel. Our sessions are always indoors, so weather is never an issue. Unlike organized sports your family would not be locked into a practice and game schedule without control -- you can select from our variety of different sessions. We will provide parents with feedback to better decide about future youth sport investments.
At Athleticademy they will learn the FUNdamentals of sports and expend a bunch of energy. And they will be in a safe daycare setting where children are the top priority, so you can have peace of mind to leave them for a time period. You could go out on a hot date or maybe get some quality shopping done... It will be a 3-for-1 deal!