Running with your kids – what’s the secret?
If your news feed is anything like ours, it is full of idyllic looking scenes of families exercising together and spending quality time outdoors. It looks wonderful and there’s no doubt it’s an extremely effective way to bring some calm to the household. But how does it work in reality?
Family exercise has seen a boom in popularity in recent months thanks to the pandemic and personalities such as Joe Wicks, but what happens when you want to bring your own child along for your daily run? How do you know how far to push them or to keep them entertained? And how do you make sure you are still getting enough exercise?
We knew one person who would have all the answers. Our wonderful fundraiser Elly. Below she shares some of her tips on striking a balance between family fun and enjoying a run.
Elly’s Top Tips
- One of the biggest factors in encouraging kids to be active has to be is seeing their parents not only doing it themselves and but also enjoying it! I know that this may sometimes be a challenge, but by making it seem like an everyday thing it won’t seem like a chore to them. My two little girls think going for a run is normal and they always see me return from one happy.
- Following groups such as This Mum Runs is so useful. They encourage mums to be active and to run whatever size or shape they are. Their emphasis on the fact that you don't have to be an amazing runner to be a runner is brilliant. The Grand Appeal has created its own Facebook running group too, which I’ll definitely be joining.
- Be excited about your run and make sure it is a manageable distance for you BOTH. The more fun you have, the more fun your child will have.
- Remember, walking is okay. I always find encouraging my children to not give up is much more beneficial, because the sense of achievement they will get from completing something hard will be brilliant for their self-confidence. So, let them take as long as they want but do try and finish.
- Put music on - we play my daughters favourite: Shakira, Frozen or Barbie on my phone and we sing as we go.
- Pick a theme. One of our runs was around Halloween so my daughter asked to dress up in her witch Halloween outfit – which made it extra special.
- My three-year-old also sometimes joins us and we attach challenges to the next tree or the next post to keep the motivation going. You could do this with any age – try having little goals along the way.
- Make it a day out by going for a run and then getting a hot chocolate somewhere near your run. This will also help them to see running as a treat.
- Pick different locations so it feels like a trip out! When there are things to see they will be distracted by how far they've run.
- My daughter is a bit competitive. She actually enjoys running with my phone and watching the numbers go up on Strava until she had done the mile.