Yesterday, my 5 1/2 year old and I went for a run together. I asked him the day before what his favorite exercise was (since he’s been a little hyperactive and we’re trying to tire him out!), and he said running.
So yesterday afternoon, after the rain stopped, I told him to suit up and we headed out for our first run together. I decided to see how we could do on a 1.4 mile loop from our house. I knew the biggest issue would be to teach him pacing.
We went about a 0.3 miles and then took a walk break. We continued the run/walk combo for the whole loop! He made it, and I succeeded in tiring him out completely! We actually had a really fun time being silly and checking out the scenery. I guess it was a success, because he said he wanted to do it again today!
Here are a few tips for starting to run with your kids:
- Kids are like dogs—they need to learn the art of pacing when they just start out. Generally they sprint around, so they idea of a running a longer distance is a bit of a foreign concept.
- Just like when you started running, start with shorter distances and gradually build on. I started with the 1.4 loop just because my son already runs EVERYWHERE, so I had a feeling he could do it with the run/walk combo.
- If they don’t feel like going for a run, don’t force them. You want them to have a happy association with running.
- Try setting a goal (to run a certain distance, a kids race, etc.) to work towards.
- Going along with setting a goal, a reward system like a sticker chart can work great for keeping up your child’s motivation!
- The most important rule is HAVE FUN!