Many parents hope to raise kids who love exercising and will embrace healthy living. Though running is often a solitary endeavor, it can also be made into a family hobby to teach kids about the importance and fun of physical activity. If you want your kids to join you on the track, the trail or the road, then here are 4 great ways to instill the joy of running in them.
- Set the Example
As with any other parenting advice, being sure to set a good example is at the heart of engaging kids to run with you. If you want to foster a love of running in your children, then it is important that they see you enjoying it first.
“If you want kids to have fun, you have to be having fun yourself. Be ready to laugh and enjoy the moment,” writes Douglas Finley for Runner’s World. Establish your pattern of jogging and exercise and then invite the rest of your family to join you.
Seeing how mom and dad try to live healthy and have fun doing it can become a powerful motivator for children who naturally emulate patterns they see practiced by their parents.
- Make It a Family Time
After your whole family is on board, it is essential to remember that while running as a family, the run is primarily about your kids. “Run with your child either before, after or completely separate form your own run,” recommends Finley.
“You can’t make the child the center of attention when you are doing your own workout.” Focus family runs on simplicity and maximum fun and use other time to get the more intense workout you need as an individual.
- Make Running a Fun Activity
When attempting to nurture a love for running in your children, having fun is one of the foremost objectives. There are multiple ways to mix up a family run to capitalize on having fun. The Center for Children’s Running advises taking regular runs to new places.
This can even include going for a family job when on vacations. The excitement of traversing new ground with fresh views might even become a family tradition to look forward to.Other great ways to mix up a family run include:
- Setting up an obstacle course.
- Taking a flashlight run at night.
- Jogging to a lake or pool on a hot day.
- Playing sprinting games like Red Light Green Light or Simon Says.
- Making matching running t-shirts for the whole family.
- Set Fun Goals
Finally, the right motivation can give your brood of young joggers a good goal to work towards together. Perhaps your kids are interested in joining a cross country team and can begin training together.
Or your family might decide together to enter a 5K, fun run or Turkey Trot race. These are just some of the semi-competitive but mostly for fun events that your gang can use to set positive goals.
And as you consider setting targets, you may also want to consult your family’s personalized healthcare provider about what proper goals look like and how to ensure the right nutrition to meet them.
With these fun activities and healthy habits, your family can soon enjoy all the benefits of running together.