Tips for Parents

Tips for Getting Your Kids Involved in Recreational Activities

Kids with social-emotional issues and special needs tend to be more isolated, have fewer friends, and face challenges with obesity and inactivity. Often, exercise, social interaction, and community engagement can improve long-term outcomes for our kids.  Nevertheless, they face many more challenges in participating in organized sports and other activities than other kids. Here are some tips for making the experience better for your kids.


Let coaches and counselors know what works and doesn’t work for your kid. Many activities supposedly designed for kids are extremely loud and too over-stimulating for some kids.  Whistles, yelling, large crowds, flashing lights, blaring music or other loud sounds can sometimes trigger meltdowns.   Often, our children need more positive guidance about ways to focus.

 Be Flexible

A little flexibility and creativity on the part of both parents and counselors or coaches can go a long way.  My son’s soccer coach let me run behind him and guide him for the first two weeks until he learned the rules of the game.  From then on, I was able to watch from the sidelines, and even got to cheer when he scored his first (and only) goal of the season.

Do Some Research

Contact the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Inclusion specialist at your local parks department, community education, YMCA/YWCA or Reach for Resources about ways to include your child in camps, classes or sports.

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