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A mum has blamed children’s sport for harming families and causing burnout, saying the pressure is forcing kids to grow up too fast.

Abby Eckel, who has more than 600,000 TikTok followers, says she had just one child in sport, and it was enough to burn out their whole family.

“I think kids’ sports are ruining families, marriages and kids themselves,” she explained in a now-viral video.

“My son was in two sports in the spring, and we had something every single night of the week in terms of a practice and then we had a practice or a game and then we had games on the weekends as well, and we were exhausted. Everybody was exhausted.

“I never saw my husband. We never had actual time to connect. We never had any good intimate, connected family time.

“Everybody was tired. We were at each other’s throats. We were just going and going and going and going, and I won’t do it. I won’t do it.”

She says while she’s aware of the positive aspects of children participating in sport, she doesn’t think it outweighs the damage it’s doing.

“I know that kids sports, recreational sports, team sports are very important. I know there’s a lot of lessons that come out of that. I played sports when I was a kid, but this has gotten insane,” she said.

“My kids are six and nine, and at this level, this level of competition, the expectation that we have of kids at this age, I think it’s detrimental. I think it’s harming more than it’s helping. and I sure as s**t don’t think it’s helping marriages which are already struggling.”

@abbyeckel And that was just with ONE kid in sports. I think we are forcing kids to grow up too fast. Competitive sports at 7 years old?! Are you kidding me? No wonder parents are burnt out, exhausted and marriages are suffering. I dont think kids sports are the only reason for failing relationships, but they’re certainly not helping. At what point is running kids around every night snd every weekend doing more good than harm? Im not going to force myself or my kids into that. There are plenty of other ways to learn about teamwork that doesnt consist of burning yourself out at the ripe age of 10. #parenting #parenthood #momlife ♬ original sound – abbyeckel

Abby believes there are lots of other ways for children to learn about teamwork that ‘doesn’t consist of burning yourself out at the ripe age of 10′.

“Marriages aren’t like, on the up and up. I don’t know if you know this, but like, half of them end in divorce, and I don’t think burning yourselves to the ground, running kids around every single night and every single weekend is the answer.”

Her video was met by thousands of parents who are in agreement, claiming that children’s sport is far too intrusive on family life.

“I did it with all 3 kids. Year round. I couldn’t agree more. We should have bought a boat and spent our weekends at the lake.”

“I think it also teaches kids that they are the centre of the family. And that can’t be healthy.”

“I think this is why some people remember 2020 and the lockdown fondly. Way less go go go, more quality time.”

However, other parents didn’t agree, saying that it’s an essential part of childhood.

“We love it. Most don’t get it. My kids hate when we are just sitting at home. Select baseball, football, softball and dance. But also we have been lucky to make practice together as a couple.”

“Respectfully, couldn’t disagree more for my kids and family. Overschedueld? Yes. Learning how to be good teammates and people, work with a group, feel big emotions (and recover), have second families and literally travel the world as a family and with others – very valuable life lessons. My husband and I are connected and LOVE the chaos and life lessons our kids are learning every day.”

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments below. 

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  • Even just one sport can be very time consuming when you attend the official games and a couple of training sessions each week.

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  • Everyone is busy with kids sports and activities. It can be draining but as they get older they tend to drop some activities. My 14 year old son now only plays football which is seasonal and fills in for a friends basketball team once in a blue moon.

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  • If you’ve got more than one kid, even one or two activities per child can quickly make you feel overscheduled.

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  • Yes its great to get your kids into sports after school but it does intend to take up family time and I really think that school and homework comes first

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  • I think it depends on the family and how they like to live. It’s not for every family.

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  • I understand this to a point, especially when you have a few kids who all do something. It’s important to have time together as a family at home and just relax as well. I guess its about balance


    • Totally ! Balance is the key

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  • When one of my kids signed herself up for a bunch of stuff, she eventually asked to prune it because she wanted at least one night a week where she could just come home and be with us.

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  • I can recall being out every night for one activity or another with my children, but on average everyone had fun doing what they wanted to do and seeing other points of view from the new friends they made outside school. It helped them grow up more rounded and it never seemed to interfere with my homelife at all. I guess moderation is the key to all things really.

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  • It’s all about balance – time management and allowing for what’s practical and enjoyable for everyone.

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  • I think it really depends on how you do it and how you let it affect things. My son was able to participate in an 8 week soccer program that was straight after school one day a week. It didn’t interfere with anything as we both work and it was great for him to learn and practice the sport. I don’t believe in letting anything take over your life and our family go to church Saturdays, so that rules out pretty much everything with team sports. We have found other things our kids can participate in though, my daughter does dance 2 days a week and we only have to take out a little extra time when there’s competitions and her end of year performance. Gymnastics is the same. Once a week class for son and daughter and we go to an open day once a year.
    I think it is important to find things that work for your family, but getting out of the house and doing these things is better than screen time and teaches them skills.

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  • I completely agree!!! Not only does the sports affect the balance in the family but it’s bloody expensive! So the problem we have is not that our kids are taking part in too much activities, but it’s the pressure that we don’t! We simply can’t afford it and my 9yo daughter complains that all her friends are doing this, that or the other and all she does is swimming! The peer pressure to be involved is insane and this financial worry just adds to our marriage woes!

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  • I have my 10yr old only in swimming and don’t want to overask her. Besides school she also does Speech, OT, Exercise physiology and Sensorimotor therapy (part of these I do during school time as she is too tired after school). During the holidays I often enroll her into extra programs, like Martial arts, Ninja warrior, Music club ,etc

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  • Change to a sport that suits. It’s not this bad for everyone.

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  • We have always managed sport and family life balance well; there simply has to be balance.

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  • We have a 4.5 year old who thankfully only does swimming, but I have a friend who does things for her girls most nights of the week. It gets pretty hectec.

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  • Wow, that’s a lot of days! I have a 3 and 5 year old who do jiu-jitsu, swimming and dancing and it’s only 2 weeknights for jiu-jitsu and a weekend for both dancing in the morning and swimming in the arvo…

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  • I barely have the time for after school activities yet so many do multiple all in a week! Its hard work thats for sure


    • That’s totally fine, don’t compare with others

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  • I had four children within 6 years. I did everything I could to make sure they got to play the sports they wanted to play and got to participate in the activities they wanted to do. This ranged from ‘school sports’, district/state level games and practice, little athletics, robotics, try-outs, out-of-school-hours-extra-curricular activities, and the various academic-related competitions that would follow. At best, I lived 20 mins away from the events (no public transport). The average was around 40km away on country roads. The average district competitions were around 2 to 3 hours away and the state competitions were around 6 hours away (yes, we would stay overnight for those ones). Where I could, I would volunteer my time in order to remove the ‘waiting around’ aspect of it, such as coaching, umpiring, scoring, anything to keep busy really, especially on the ice-cold mornings. Yes, it was hard but, even with four children, it was never ‘full-time’. There was still the odd hour here or there at home on the weekends and nothing ever lasted as long as every week of every year – there would always be an end to the season or the schedule at some stage. I survived it and my relationship with my husband survived it. Now, my children are all grown up and have lives and schedules of their own. My husband and I have plenty of time to ourselves outside of work (and housework) and are doing things together we couldn’t imagine doing before, like travelling more often and only needing one hotel room. Now I struggle to find a time that the kids are free to spend time with me. My advice is to do what you can to make your kids’ lives brilliant while they are still kids and cherish every moment of it. Children are only children for a small part of our lives. The time goes quickly and, one day, you’ll look back on the time they were children and wish it had lasted a little bit longer or you had managed to do a little bit more.

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  • My son played basketball, football, did karate, swimming lessons. And yes it was full on. Once he started high school we cut back to one sport so he could manage everything and still have downtime. Sport and teamwork is fun but there’s a lot of politics involved these days and it can be less fun, even cruel, if your child is not the best at their sport. Some parents can be way too competitive.

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  • My kids aren’t sporty, so this hasn’t been an issue for me. But I wouldn’t want to have something scheduled every single day.

    Reply

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