A blog by runners. For runners.

Involve your kids in your running with these tips

Involve your kids in your running with these tipsMy daughter is only three years old, but she has definitely picked up that both her parents are serious runners. Since she’s still so young, we often feel like she’s excluded from our favorite pastime. So we’ve come up with following ways to get her involved in running culture – and we’re hoping the interest will stick with her as she grows.

  1. Jog with your child. If your kids are small enough, bring them along on some of your weekly easy runs in the jogging stroller. Most manufacturers say kids ages 8 months to 44 inches and 70 pounds can cruise comfortably while you get in a good workout. My daughter loves going for short jogs with me. We usually do a couple miles to/from the playground so she gets a chance to stretch her legs, too. (More on running with a stroller.)
  2. Bring your child to events. Get everyone in the car and head to the race expo together. Or – better yet – have your child spectate at your next race. We usually don’t bring our daughter to longer races because if we’re both running, there’s no one to watch her. However, her grandparents have brought her to the end of several races. When we race solo, we take turns bringing in the family spirit. Tip for spectating with tots: bring snacks and a few simple toys for the wait.
  3. Have your child help. We have designated our daughter as our gear assistant. Before I head out on any run, I have her get my shoes for me. Now that it’s winter, I ask her to get my gloves, safety vest, and hat, too. Inevitably she ends up trying on our running stuff, and it’s adorable. This way, she feels involved in our activity. I remember doing the same thing when I was a little girl with my mom’s running attire.
  4. Let your child run. Sign your kid up to do those children’s races often associated with events. Or bring them to the track to get their energy out. Encourage your child to do sports that include short spurts of running, like soccer and basketball, or just let them move around and be active. While experts disagree on the age kids can start more formal running, it’s best to keep the activity loose and driven by your child’s own interests until they’re a little older.

Written and photo by Ashley Marcin.