Youth sports are supposed to be fun for children and parents alike. The kids get to play the game they love, and mom and dad get to watch their youngster experience the joy of scoring a goal, making a basket, or hitting a home run. Win or lose, there is always fun to be had and important life lessons to be learned.
So, why are Canadian sports parents so stressed out?
According to a recent survey of 1,000 Canadian sports parents from FlipGive, the rising cost of youth sports is the primary cause of stress for parents of young athletes, and the worries are widespread. Here are some of the findings:
Dues are too high
It’s no surprise that 82 per cent of Canadian parents believe youth sports to be too expensive. 42 per cent say this was their main cause of stress. 26 per cent of Canadians point to team and league fees in particular as a major cause of financial stress.
Some 37 per cent of parents point to the time commitment of youth sports as the biggest stress factor. For many, it involves nights and weekends, tons of travel, practices, games, etc. That’s a lot of hours for the kids and their parents.
Gear, travel and lessons
Sports gear can come at a premium, especially in some sports like hockey (hope your kid’s not a goalie). 24 per cent of parents say gear is the most expensive part of participation. Some 21 per cent said the cost of travel to away games, while 15 per cent point to private trainings and lessons as primary expenses related to their kids’ sports involvement.
Pressure to win
More than 50 per cent of Canadian sports parents think it’s OK for coaches to be tough on kids, and nearly 63 per cent believe that parental involvement in sports can add extra stress for the kids. On a related note, 61 per cent said they get stressed if certain expectations are not met by their child’s sports league or team.
“Having fun” was ranked as the number one goal for parents in regards to their child’s sports involvement (23 per cent said it was their highest priority). The other top-ranking goals were “learning to win and lose gracefully” (19 per cent), “staying active and getting exercise” (17 per cent), and “learning the value of teamwork” (15 per cent).
Some sports parents are more stressed than others
Parents in these provinces say their children’s sports involvement causes them the largest amount of stress.
The FlipGive ‘Canada Sports Stress’ Index:
1. Newfoundland and Labrador 40%
2. New Brunswick 35%
3. Quebec 34%
4. Alberta 27%
5. Ontario 26%
6. Nova Scotia 25%
7. Manitoba 23%
8. Saskatchewan 21%
9. British Columbia 20%
FlipGive has partnered with thousands of retailers and service providers across North America to eliminate the rigors of fundraising that parents and kids don’t like doing and simply don’t have time for. Instead of worrying about how they are going to afford uniforms, equipment, travel, and more, FlipGive allows young athletes and families to focus on the joy youth sports provides. Canadian teams have raised close to $4 million through FlipGive’s platform.