I didn’t realize how much time I would spend as mother being a referee. I constantly have to keep this game moving to reach our goals around here. With all these little sports, it can be real tough. One minute we’re playing fancy free and the next it’s like…that’s it, you’re out of here for unnecessary roughness!

I’m not much of a sports fan, but I’ve learned a few things from my husband’s fanatical sports watching… (I have many hours of spectator ref study, ha). Referees have a hard job, just like moms. They have to know the rules, focus on the game and follow through.


There are different rules for different sports and that goes for families too. If something is important to you, you can set a rule. Yeah, you have that kind of power as a MOM REF! If no rules are set, the team won’t know what to do or not to do.

The rules can be simple like…. be respectful, be safe, be smart and BE NICE TO MOM =)! They can get more specific like…pick up after yourself, no screaming inside, chores before playing or ONLY INTERRUPT MOM’S REST TIME IN AN EMERGENCY =).

Whatever your family rules are make them, write them down, talk about them, practice following them, adjust them as needed. Then, hopefully this preparation will make for better game.


As a MOM REF, I know when I loose focus things can spiral out of control quick. It’s hard not get overwhelmed and over worked as the mom. Still, try not loose focus on the game and what your real goals are. For example, one major goal of mine is to prevent major problems. I do this with a little referee technique I call redirection.

REDIRECTION –It’s real simple to keep the game flowing with a little redirection. Example: children are playing a wild game in the front room. You can sense the coming argument. You can calmly redirect the wild game play to the great outdoors; thus changing the situation and preventing the fight, at least for now….


Everyone hates it when a ref doesn’t make the right call. It’s not easy to get it right every time. If you know your rules and players, hopefully you’ll have enough info to make a good call. Here are a few strategies I like to use-

COUNTING– Counting down or up, either way, helps kids know there’s a time limit and can get kids to react. I sometimes say, “you have 5 seconds to make a good choice”.  Sometimes that actually works! If they can’t think of choices, give them some to choose from.

TIME OUT – Some say this old school strategy doesn’t work. Well, I say it surely works…when everyone involved needs some time to cool. Wherever works really…on a bench, stair or corner…as long as there’s TIME that you’re OUT for awhile. It’s okay to get out of the game to think through the problem. Then come back together to resolve it together.

RESOLVE- Teaching my kids to find a resolution is something I’d like to improve on in our home. I’ve seen some professional MOM REFS find success with this strategy. After the problem is settled, talk about how to handle the situation better in the future and make apologies as needed. That’s the way we all truly WIN! GO TEAM!!!

There are many chances to be a MOM REF, I may just get myself a whistle. Hoping that the game flows smoother at your house with these tips.

What things work for you to help keep the peace on your home field?

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