I had a brief conversation with another mother today about sport and school.
She was telling me how difficult it is to communicate with the school about how much activity is appropriate for her daughter.
While it’s been a while since this was an issue for us, it is a very familiar problem that parents raise.
Within minutes of starting the conversation, something became very clear to both of us.
Children with pain conditions are the best judge of what is appropriate and what is not.
There is a fear that if we let children choose for themselves they won’t ever join in. I think this is a false assumption.
I believe children and teenagers are concerned that they won’t be heard or respected when they say something doesn’t work for them. For this reason they try to avoid sport altogether.
If they feel heard and know that they are free to join in as much as they want – then I think sport will be a safer and more attractive option.
It is difficult for hard working teachers to have the time and space to listen and respect the individual needs of each child. What can result is a “make everyone do it” approach.
Perhaps what is needed is a permanent note that is laminated that says,
“Dear Sports Co-ordinator, My child has a pain condition that varies from day to day. Please allow him/her to choose the level of involvement that is going to work best for today. Please trust that when he/she can participate fully that is exactly what will happen.“
What do you think? Can you see that working? What is your strategy?