Do you feel that? As August draws to a close and September creeps closer, that only means one thing: it’s almost time for football. The NFL season kicks off soon, and with it comes fantasy football. And just because the Chargers moved up the road, doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy Sunday afternoons. (*grumble*)
You may already be waist deep in stat sheets, injury reports, and articles about sleeper picks that will give you the most bang for your buck. Fantasy drafts are starting to pop up all over the country as we speak.
You probably think of fantasy football as an excuse to watch every game, earn bragging rights, and talk smack to your friends. It certainly falls into all of those categories. But what you might not expect is that it’s also often a useful tool for divorced dads.
Following a divorce, noncustodial parents have it tough this time of year. During the summer, you likely had more opportunities to see your children. Now they’re going back to school, and with everything that entails, you may not get to see them as often. Playing fantasy football with them may serve as an additional way to connect, as well as teach them various useful life skills. And it’s a pretty good time to boot.
How Can Fantasy Football Help Divorced Dads?
1) Develop Math Skills
Getting kids interested kids in developing their math skills isn’t always easy. While some take to it like ducks to water, it’s a struggle and a chore for others.
One way around this is to frame it in fun and practical terms. This way, it’s not like a forced lesson. Instead, they learn while doing something they enjoy. Keeping score involves addition and subtraction as well as multiplication, especially the numbers three, six, and seven.
Determining how many points they need to win, or an opponent needs, even helps them understand certain algebraic functions and work on problem-solving abilities.
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2) Persistence and Commitment
Fantasy football is a game of patience and persistence, both useful life skills for children to develop.
Drafting is a process that requires research. Then once you set your lineup, you have to wait through the entire weekend to finally get the results.
Beyond that, it runs for the entire football season. This isn’t a game that pays off quickly and offers immediate gratification. Finishing a full season takes commitment and dedication and compels kids to develop those attributes.
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3) Learning to Predict Outcomes
The whole point of fantasy football is to select the players you think will perform the best on any given Sunday.
You look at past accomplishments, gauge match-ups, account for a number of variables, and use it all to predict the outcome.
With these tools, kids develop logic skills, work on comprehension, and hone their ability to think critically. And since this is football, it’s a lesson that even the best, most well thought out predictions don’t always come to pass.
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4) The Gift of Disappointment
This may sound harsh, but it’s good for children to learn that disappointment is a part of life.
Things don’t always work out as anticipated, and where does that happen more than in sports? Players get injured and don’t always perform up to expectations. Referees don’t always get the call right and the ball doesn’t always bounce like you hope. It may not seem fair, but as we’ve all learned, life isn’t always fair.
This is often an uncomfortable lesson to learn. But in the context of fantasy football, your children can experience this and acclimate to the idea free from any substantial consequences.
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5) Strengthen the Parental Bond
Divorced dads often have a difficult job remaining present in their children’s lives after a marriage ends. Though it’s hard, it’s vital for kids to have both parents in their lives.
Probably the most important aspect of playing fantasy football with your kids is that it gives you additional opportunities to be involved in their day-to-day routines. It’s a fun activity, but it also lets your kids know you’re there and that you care about them.
Fantasy football takes over this time of year. We spend countless hours pouring over stats, schedules, weather conditions, matchups, and other minute details, hoping for an edge. Some people play for fun, others use it to make games you normally wouldn’t care about more interesting.
While that’s all well and good, fantasy football can also have an unintended positive impact for divorced dads. You can use it as a way to impart important life lessons, develop useful and necessary skills, and to bond further with your children.
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