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Participation in youth sports is a great way to teach your children sportsmanship, leadership, discipline and goal setting. To become skilled in a competitive sport requires hours, days and even months of training. Practice makes perfect and after every game or competition, there is more practice.

In the hours of after school practice and training, personal progress and improvement can be overlooked due to constant practice schedules. While parents are always a child’s most enthusiastic fan, it’s also our job to help reduce burnout or practice fatigue by celebrating small wins and personal bests with our child. Practice may make for perfect form, but even the most talented young athlete needs reassurance and motivation to keep on top of their game.

Post-game pizza parties are a great way to reward a team on a well-played season, but there are plenty of small gifts you can give to lift your kid’s spirits after a tough match, or celebrate after a great performance. Even the smallest gifts can motivate a child athlete to keep competing.

Gymnastics – Gymnastics meets offer great opportunities to show your support after each event. Parents can give their little gymnasts flowers or a “You’re the Best” teddy bear with a message of support. Flowers are a timeless gift for gymnasts, but longer lasting gifts are a great way to remind your child of their successes as they grow older.

Soccer – Soccer jerseys will be worn for a season and then forgotten, but you can also get your soccer star a custom t-shirt with a writable section that teammates can sign their names on. The child can continue to wear the t-shirt long after the soccer season is over.

Football – Along with all the creative handmade posters with messages of support parents can give their little champs custom dog tags. The dog tags can have messages of support or inside jokes printed on them. These little tokens of appreciation go a long way in reinforcing parent-child support.

Swimming – Parents can give a waterproof watch to their little swimmers. The wristwatch is not only a practical gift for a swimmer who is constantly timing themselves but can be worn for any occasion outside their sport.

Cheerleaders – Charm bracelets or engraved necklaces are popular gifts for parents to show their support. There are even charm bracelets for cheerleaders who need to wear a stylish medical ID bracelet. These bracelets are especially valuable for cheerleaders who travel with their teams to compete, as parents are often unable to travel along. Having easy access to medical information is vital for coaches, and these small gifts can often become a sentimental treasure for the little cheerleader to cherish years later.

Remember that it’s not the price tag of the gift that counts but the show of support from a parent that makes a world of difference to children. Some games might call for a more significant gift, while others will just need a big high five and a hug. 


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Tags: bear, family, kids, sports, teddy

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GainesvilleMoms.com moderator Stacy Fournier is a Gator grad and freelance journalist. But she does her most important work at home as a wife and mommy to daughters Aubrey, born March 2006, and Riley, born June 2010. Read more about GainesvilleMoms.com or contact Stacy at gainesvillemoms@gainesville.com.

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