Some sound advice on getting children involved

These days, parents are told to get their children involved, but sometimes that's easier said than done. So many options and activities can make it hard to even know where to start.

"Start with your kids. Pick things that they express interest in and try to expand on what they do at home," said Scott Keith, youth recreational programs manager. "If they don't have a knack or enthusiasm for it, they won't stick with it."

Keith said it really doesn't matter what activities children are involved in, as long as it keeps them active.

"The first thing parents need to understand is that kids can't just be sedentary. That's not a lifestyle that will be healthy long-term," Keith said.

Once children find something they are excited about, one of the easiest things that parents do to help maintain that interest is become part of that activity, according to Justin Wass, Outreach Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada.

"We want the parents to be involved with what their kids do, not just drop them off or pick them up. If your kid is in band, go to the concerts," Wass said.

One of the biggest obstacles parents usually face in getting their children involved is video games.

"They can still have their Xbox time and do things that are better for them. Video games should be a reward, not a baby sitter," Wass said.

Joel Dunn, sports recreation program manager, said parents often specialize their children's activities very young and don't allow them to experience a variety.

"Parents want their kids to be a star instead of just wanting them to have fun," Dunn said. "You are seeing kids at 8 or 10 who are year-round soccer or softball players, and they miss out on doing something else they might enjoy."

Keith said a good rule of thumb for parents is simply pay attention.

"Once your kids stop having fun, it's time to look at other programs or activities."

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.


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