Introducing kids to running – 5 unique ways to encourage healthy habits

Your children love to run, jump, spin, hurdle, hop & sprint. It’s this innate urge to move which we should encourage & nurture. Running is probably attractive to your kids as they want to emulate your healthy habits, and they also get to spend time with you, without the distraction of your phone, TV, work demands, chores at home etc. It’s a real opportunity for quality time that benefits everyone. So many activities can become a ‘running’ activity where you just play with your kids. While ‘teaching kids to run’ sounds ridiculous for those natural bundles of energy it’s important to remember a few key points.Running children
Keep it fun!
Let the kids be a driving force
Don’t use running as a punishment

Here are 5 ways to encourage your children to run;

  1. Imagine an escape. Kids love fun games so create a scenario where you’re running away from a Tasmanian devil, running across hot lava fields, or sneaking past a family of sleeping giants. You could play out dozens of story lines with endless possibilities, & I’m sure the kids will ask for ‘one more’ loop around the enchanted run with a new story to tell.
  2. Explore. Hit the trails or go on a run/walk through your suburb stopping to admire a few local sights or the local environment. Let your kids be the tour guide or take turns sharing the teaching. You’ll be amazed what they know, or yearn to learn. Read my Once while running blog for my experience with this.
  3. Frisbee, tips or chasings are great fun games to play with the kids that won’t even feel like running for them. If you’re aiming to get them out for 2 runs/week (outside of their organised sport), then a games based run like tips, essentially a speed interval session, is a fantastic & more importantly fun way to get the kids running. Hopefully you can keep going as long as they do!
  4. Let them take control if they’re suggesting fun ways to change it up. running on the beachIf necessary guide the activities back halfway to what you’d planned but blend your ideas & let them be the ‘creator’ of another fun game. Even if it means finishing at the playground equipment, or running with walking (& talking) breaks it’s still beneficial and most importantly keeps them enjoying the outing. Letting kids set the pace (as long as it’s not too fast) will be good for them to learn to find a rhythm & what they can maintain.
  5. Celebrate success & plot your progress. Kids love recognition & positive reinforcement for their efforts, so if your kids have set a goal to run a certain distance or to train a certain number of times the plot the progress on a chart or app & recognise their achievements along the way. A sticker chart, homemade certificate or other reward is a great way to encourage them to keep going. Knowing you’re proud of their efforts will go a long way to reinforcing the great benefits they gain from being active.

If you’d like to start a running log with your family download our OUTFIT runners training chart & colour it in with all of your children’s achievements.
Enjoy the run!



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