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Spring sports prep!

Spring, the official season, is now here! At least according to the calendar, if not Mother Nature. And with spring comes a whole host of outdoor activities for your kids. And if you're like me, these things tend to sneak up on you and you find yourself at Sports Authority 30 minutes before game time. So, in order to be prepared, I've got some tips on prepping for spring sports: 1. Check sizes If your child needs cleats for baseball or any shoes for tennis, basketball, lacrosse, etc., be sure to try them on now so you can see if last year's shoes still fit or you need to get a new pair. This is especially important because chances are the longer you wait, the less likely the local sporting goods store will have your child's size.

2. Inventory equipment Does your child's mitt still fit? Does he need a cup? What about shin guards? Maybe a batting glove. See what you have (if you can locate it) and make a list so you can get them all on your next trip. And if your child's league requires anything specific (say a certain size soccer ball, or a metal bat as opposed to wood), now's the time to find out.

That glove looks just right!

3. Schedule! If you're lucky enough to already have schedules for your kid's activities, now's the time to input it into your phone, your spouse's phone and perhaps the fridge calendar. This allows you to see any potential scheduling conflicts, divide and conquer who goes where, and even think about carpooling. Plus, if you know you'll miss some dates, let your coaches know sooner than later so they can prepare accordingly.

Keep track of all games and activities in a central place.

4. Stock up Even though it's spring, the sun is strong enough to warrant sunscreen. Make sure you get a few bottles now and leave them in your kid's sports bags so you never get to the field without. Spray sunscreen might be best for this since it's fast and easy to apply. Same goes for packing water bottles. You should also include a small first aid kit, including band-aids, first-aid ointment, crackable ice packs and children's aspirin/ibuprofen in each bag.

5. Pack the car Since you'll be a fan or a coach at all these events, you might want to have portable chairs in the trunk, for when you get tired of pacing, or the bleachers are full, cold, dirty or all of the above. Also pack a blanket, sunscreen and even a hat or some light jackets in case the sun is strong or the wind picks up. And since Mother Nature is finicky, an umbrella might not be a bad idea as well.

6. Don't go hungry Both you and the little ones could get hungry as the day wears on, especially if you're doing back-to-back games. So stock up on easy portable and non-perishable food: granola bars, trail mix, nuts, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, etc. And on game day, if you want to bring along apples, bananas or oranges, those tend to keep well, even in heat. And you can always bring a small cooler to keep things cold, such as cheese sticks, PBJ sandwiches, squeezable fruits and more.

What are your tips for spring sports prep? I'd love to hear them!

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