In my previous post here on Playground Dad I gave some tips about how you can front load your days on Sunday, in order to clear some time to watch football in the afternoon. In fact, I went a little bit further and decided that front loading the morning with football related activities would be a good idea. My thinking was it would get your kids excited for football and that all the activity would tire them out enough to sit and watch the game with you. One of my quick points in that post was related to a love of mine, which is fantasy football.
I love everything about fantasy football because even when your team is doomed to irrelevancy, you have something to root for. It forces you to pay attention to all of the games, every week and is an awesome way to introduce yourself to the greatness that is fantasy football.
So why not introduce your kids to fantasy football as soon as they are old enough to?
There is no reason the league has to be for any money, like most fantasy leagues are. It simply can be about a bonding activity that you and your children enjoy together. For a normal kid I would say that age 10 would be the earliest they would be capable of handling a fantasy football team.
The right way to do this is to make your own league. It can consist of you, your significant other, your children, and maybe some of their friends as well. If you want to bring in people not from your family, obviously make sure this is okay with their parents before they get involved. I personally suggest parents monitor their children’s internet use all the time if possible. Just explain to them, if they aren’t familiar with fantasy football that they will need to watch their child put in their lineup on Sunday.
Try to fill out the league to 8 teams, this way all of the teams will have good players on their roster. Since this is a learning experience, even if there are only 4 or 6 teams in the league it still serves its purpose. There are plenty of free hosting sites such as Yahoo or NFL.com that will allow you to set up your league for no cost.
Host a draft day for the kids and whoever else will be participating. Make all sorts of game time snacks and get a few decorations up. You could do the draft online but keeping it live will make for a better experience. When it is over you will have to manually input all the teams, but this shouldn’t take more than an hour one night.
Now on a weekly basis, you and your children have something else to talk about and bond over. If one of them needs a player in your league, trade a good player their way! This is all a learning experience until they are old enough to be really competitive. You can all put in your lineups on the weekend together, and your children will surely all develop favorite players in due time. It will also teach your children valuable lessons about winning and losing just like any other game activity they will be involved in.
I really can’t see a negative experience coming out of making your own family, fantasy football league. You can thank me later for all of the fun this league will create for you and your kids!