Being active at an early age is important to your health, it’s important to your future. Learning life-long skills at an early age can take you places you’ve never imagined. It could be a baseball game that you win in the last inning at age 12. It could be the community walk/run event that you spent months raising money for or it could be hiking on the trails in the fall once the leaves have turned colour. For some, it could even mean being a competitive athlete!
Getting your kids into a sport or activity can build their confidence, self-esteem, build friendships that last a lifetime and also gain some health benefits! Running is one of those activities that doesn’t require a lot of equipment: usually, a good pair of running sneakers is all you need.
I’m a runner and have been on and off for 20 years! It first started off as training for competitive soccer and many years later, I grew to love the sport of running. Running on my own and with others. Running to meet my own goals and set new challenges. Running for my health; physical and mental. More recently, I’ve been running with the thought that I am a role model to my young daughters.
Our oldest (5 years old) has run a few “races” and our youngest (2.5 years old) loves to run while her sister bikes. I don’t know where running will take them but I do know it’s good for them!
Tips to Get Your Kids Running
Buy a Good Pair of Running Sneakers.
You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive running sneakers. You do however, need to make sure that they are secure and comfortable. If your child gets into running more consistently, then you should research what is best for your child’s feet and your wallet.
Do It Together
The best way to engage your child in activities is to show interest. If you are a runner, then this might come easy to you. If you do not normally run, then this is an opportunity for you do to something together with your child.
If you do not want to run you can STILL show interest. Support them by taking them to a trail, track or safe place for them to run while you walk or bike behind them. You can even sit as they run around the track and “time” them. The key is that you are taking the time to support their running.
Start off Slow
Starting off slow is a safe place for everyone. Running for 30-60 seconds might be a good starting point or running for 5 minutes straight might be fine too. Don’t worry if they (or you) have to walk because any movement is good for you.
Take It One Day at a Time
Take it one run at a time. Each day, each week they (and you) will get stronger. It will get easier, trust me!
Sign Up for a Race Event!
Ideally, you’d want to sign up for a race 6-10 weeks in advance depending on the distance. Younger children would do better with shorter distances. Some races even have caps on what distances children can run.
Do a little research from your local running club or social media sites for what events are taking place. Once they have a race event to work towards, they can set their own goals. These goals could be to run and walk the distance, run the whole distance or finish in a certain time.
Celebrate their Enthusiasm.
They might come in first place, middle of the pack or the last runner to finish. Celebrate their enthusiasm and effort. Make a big deal out of what they just accomplished by saying “I loved watching you run”.
In the end, I hope these tips can help your child / children get more into being active. Building life-long physical literacy skills and lead your child to opportunities that could take them around the world. It can build their self-confidence, their love for the outdoors and lead a healthy lifestyle.