There is nothing that makes me happier than kids running–I love watching my 3 1/2 year old run free through the back yard. He runs with complete, uninhibited joy and loves to “race” everyone. Children run so naturally and they run for fun. Why do some children lose this positive association with running and start to see it as something to be dreaded?
It’s so often that extra running is doled out as “punishment” in gym class or for infractions or losses in team sports, and we wonder why children don’t enjoy running. When I think about this, it actually makes me pretty sad. Running is such a natural exercise and something that young children love to do. How many times do you see children running and squealing in a game of tag and the huge smile on their face makes you smile too?
As we continue to battle the epidemic of childhood obesity, I think we need to keep kids running, so they can be more physically active and to have fun at the same time. I think that the boom in kids’ races that accompany local 5ks are a great idea.
My son was so excited to run in his first kids 1k. He had been asking me for a while to do a race, because he constantly sees me pinning on a bib and toeing the line. I was more than happy to let him enter the kids Monster Mini Dash over Halloween. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I had a tear in my eye as he crossed the finish line holding my husband’s hand. He was so focused as he crossed the timing mat, and the look on his face was priceless!
I hope that running is always something that my son loves, and I know that some day soon, he will be leaving me in the dust! As parents, we need to continue to be positive fitness role models for our children. By continuing to run for myself, I am showing my two sons that physical activity is something that is both essential and a ton of fun at the same time.