skip to main content
caption: A closed basketball court is shown on Thursday, April 9, 2020, at Cromwell Park in Shoreline.
Enlarge Icon
A closed basketball court is shown on Thursday, April 9, 2020, at Cromwell Park in Shoreline.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Keeping your student athlete strong and engaged amid pandemic can be a workout

School is remote this fall, and that means most fall sports are canceled in the Seattle area — a big loss for many kids.

But experts say children can still stay active and learn new skills.

Sports can be a big part of kids’ identities and can be a way to get exercise, manage anxiety, and connect with peers, said Dr. Celeste Quitiquit, a pediatrician and sports medicine physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital. So, she said, it’s important for parents and kids to work together to figure out ways to stay active and learn new skills in the absence of organized sports.

At the high school level, she said, “Many teams have gotten together for what they call captain’s workouts.”

That’s when a team captain leads a workout for a small group of teammates. Captains usually hold workouts over the summer — but, this year, with no regular practices, some teams are extending that into the fall.

Quitiquit said the goal is to “keep kids active, give them some autonomy in organizing ways for small groups on their team to get together.”

For younger kids, she recommends outdoor play dates or doing sports and getting exercise with siblings and parents.

She said, with no fall sports, no recess, and no PE, parents should build physical activity into their kids’ pandemic schedules.

“As much as possible try to do that as a family,” she said. “Play time is a stress reliever for both parents and children, and it also can be bonding time.”

CDC guidelines recommend that kids get an hour of exercise every day — and, even before the pandemic, eight out of 10 kids in King County weren't getting that.

Quitiquit said, as kids are missing their normal teammates and competitions this fall, now is a good time for them to try out new sports or activities and learn new skills. But, no matter what, she said, a lot of kids will be missing the thrill of competition this year.