It’s important, and in the child’s interest, for parents to follow up their child when they join a sports club. There are many ways to do this, at home as well as at the sports club. This may involve ensuring your child has the right gear, driving them to matches and ensuring they arrive at practice on time. Parents can also volunteer as a coach, bord member or helping in a kiosk during events, among other tasks. In this way, you can share your child’s experiences, be part of their sporting development and make new contacts by meeting the other parents.
Children’s and youth sports in Norway is arranged by clubs and run by parents. The sport is organised through sports clubs affiliated with the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports and takes place mostly after school. The sports club is a democratic organisation which is largely run by parents. Their motivation is creating good conditions for growing up for the children and young people in their own local area. Volunteers at sports clubs are amateurs, who don’t receive payment. There are many different tasks to do including being a coach, a member of the club board, the treasurer who takes care of the finances, helping in the café during events, preparing ski trails and baking cakes. These tasks are referred to in Norwegian as a “dugnad”, which means doing volunteer work together. Parents must also exercise parental responsibility in sport based on the age, needs and interests of their child. Many children have sport as a creational activity, while others find joy in other activities such as playing a musical instrument, singing in a choir or doing drama.
As a parent, it’s natural to follow up your child’s interests as well as possible. Ensure your child has the right gear to participate in the sport. Don’t be afraid to ask the coach if you are unsure what they need. It’s important that he or she arrives on time. It’s also important to notify the coach if your child can’t attend a sports practice or is going to arrive late.
You are welcome to attend the practice, watch your child having fun and meet other parents. It may be important for your child that you attend and watch him or her at practice. The same applies to tournaments, matches or events that the club or team is participating in. When you attend a practice or event, your main purpose should be to see that your child is happy and to see if he or she needs support with anything. The most important thing as a parent or guardian is to be able to share your child’s experiences and participate actively in their development. There are many important events and experiences in a child’s life, and many of them occur in the leisure arena.
Sport is a great arena to get to know other parents and makes it possible for you to talk with the coach. In sport, friendships and unity are created among people of different genders, ages and places of residence. This also applies to the parents. If you have recently moved to Norway, sport can be a learning arena for the parents and offer an opportunity to practice Norwegian and expand your network. There are many other examples of positive effects of sport, including people who have managed to get a job through being part of this network.
It’s important that the sports club receives the necessary contact details to your child and you as the parent or guardian. We mean details such as name, address, date of birth, mobile number and e-mail address. This will ensure that both you as a parent or guardian and your child receive the information. This may include notification that a practice has been cancelled or matches have been moved, an invitation to a meeting or information about a trip that is being planned. It’s important to provide this information when your child joins a sports club, especially when it comes to insurance.
Transport to and from activities
When the team is travelling to activities in other places, if you don’t have your own car you can always ask other parents if they have space to take your child with them. If you want to go too, and there is enough space, it would be nice if you join them. Many teams arrange joint transport for the children to activities taking place outside the local area. If you have any questions about this or other matters, feel free to ask the coach or one of the other parents.
Sport needs your efforts
The sports clubs are run by parents and other dedicated people on a voluntary basis. Some want to be coaches, while others prefer to be team manager or parent representative. Someone also needs to look after the equipment, facilities, finances and the organisation. It’s common in Norway for the parents to take on voluntary tasks to ensure the children’s practices and activities go well. This is referred to as a “dugnad”. If you are unable to attend, it’s important to advise those responsible and offer help another time. Doing voluntary work ensures that as many children and young people as possible can take part in organised sport.
Many clubs have their own training facilities and clubhouses which cost money to maintain and operate. This volunteer effort helps to reduce the amount the families need to pay for their children to participate. By doing volunteer work, you will meet other people and it often feels rewarding to work towards a common goal. Many create lasting friendships through the network they establish via sport. The amount of volunteer work you need to do, and the tasks involved, vary from sport to sport and club to club. All contributions are appreciated.