Moms Talk: Encouraging our kids to S-T-R-E-T-C-H

Each week in "Moms Talk," our Mom's Council of experts and smart moms and dads take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

This week, we take a look at how you can challenge your kids:

It seems that spring is a time for new beginnings like applying for summer employment, preparing for summer adventures and also getting set up for next year. Tryouts for 's Cheer and Drill have come and gone in preparation for the 2011-12 school year, but the is still looking to fill its summer backpacking trips. In this season of try-outs, sign-ups and summer adventures and opporunties, where does your child stand? Do they beg to sign up for everything available, relishing all kinds of experiences, or would they sit it out unless you gave them a nudge?

Most agree our kids benefit from a variety of activities and want to expand their horizons as much as possible. We are also aware that as high school approaches and the desire for "success" weighs in, specialization in fewer activities, whether it's music or althletics, becomes the norm.

So what efforts do you make to get your kids to try new things? When is it a nudge versus a push? Do you sign them up with friends as an incentive? Or require some outdoor activity before X-Box can be turned on?

DeAnn Rossetti May 13, 2011 at 07:33 PM
My son loves to play outdoors with one of his buddies and his dad, but when with most of his friends, he seems to only want to play videogames in the "man cave" downstairs. In fact, he has a friend coming over today (the Tahoma School District is using this as a 'waiver' day, so the kids are all getting a 3 day weekend) who always refuses to go outside and play because he has very fair skin and doesn't want to get a sunburn. I always encourage him, when he's with my son, to put on some sunscreen and just go out and shoot hoops for a few minutes when the weather is nice, like it is today. Both he and my son are pudgy, and could use the exercise, but I can't really force them to go outside and play, they have to want to get out there. As to signing up for sports, we've not had much success with that, even when we did sign him up with a friend. Though he's a big kid, my son doesn't seem to like most sports, so other than martial arts classes, we haven't been able to get him to go out for any sports.
Diane Taylor May 18, 2011 at 12:00 AM
The pull of video games is a strong one because the action is so fast it can rarely be duplicated in real life. For boys this technology-driven adventure seems addictive. Sports that are not too competitive, and focus on individual results, might be more attractive to some. Cross Country is one of those here on MI, where coaches focus on personal bests and improving your own time. Hiking or biking in summer might be a lower key way to ease into some physical activity. If you go to a new venue, the same old thing doesn't look so much like exercise--like a trip to Greenlake for biking or walking around (2.3 miles I believe) while you watch the fisherman, paddle boaters and roller skaters (more fun ideas for getting in motion). Good luck!
Sarah Waller May 18, 2011 at 07:17 PM
Camp! Hidden Valley Camp in Granite Falls is fantastic. Family-owned, freshly baked cookies every day, rustic, great counselors, and very inclusive. http://www.hvc-wa.com/index.htm
Diane Taylor May 19, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Sarah this camp sounds great. What age kids would enjoy this camp most?


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