Having children is one of the greatest joys in life. It is also a joy that many people think has to replace their daily running ritual. It does, at least for a while. However, once you peak an interest in running within your child you will not only have a way to spend time together. You will have a chance to teach them to stay in shape, be happier, and be years ahead of anyone else they know when it comes to mental and physical well being.
There are children that have run full marathons before they ever turn ten years old. This can seem impossible, but some children actually love to exercise! The sense of accomplishment from running is never stronger than it is in children, but the problem is getting them interested in the first place.
Make Running Fun
Children love to play, so why not turn running into a game that the two of you play together? Going for a run in a park will let them see dogs, squirrels, birds, and more. If they enjoy nature, a child sized trail run will let them enjoy all the sites while tricking them into exercising.
Log Their Runs The Same Way You Would Chores
When I was a child, my mother, the trickster she was, fooled me into enjoying doing my chores by giving me one of the fabled gold stars and rewarding me at various intervals. Setting, for instance, a 3 mile goal for a month can give your child something to work for and a sense of accomplishment along the way.
Bring Them To Your Own Race
Encouraging a child to act as your cheerleader at a race can let them see how happy other people are when you run. The excitement is contagious at a race and this will further ignite their desire to do the same.
Run In The Dark
This is only for people who have a safe place to do it with their child, or at the very least have reflective gear. Kids love running in the dark. Headlamps make it even more exciting to them. Taking them on a run in the dark is exciting on its own, but their adventurous mindset will exponentially increase the joy they get out of it.
Enroll Them In A School Running Program
Running with their friends is a way to socialize and bond with other people their own age. No matter how much you love running with your child, at the end of the day they will have to spend time with someone other than you eventually. I hate that I had to break the news to you!
Making It Stick
The problem many parents face when it comes to their children’s activities is that they push them too far and the children end up pushing back. Look at child actors, for example. Encourage your child to keep running, even when they are discouraged, but you can’t force them to. Work with all of these tips and help them learn to love it on their own. A healthy habit like running is something that will last for a lifetime.
This article was written for RunnersGoal.com by James S., a guest author