If you’re a parent who struggles to find time to work out, getting your kids involved can help you make exercise a regular part of your routine. One of the best ways to exercise with your kids is to simply have them accompany you on a run or walk around the neighborhood. If you’re feeling a little nervous about taking on this new venture, keep reading.
7 Ways to Make Running and Walking Fun for Kids
Listed below are seven simple ways to make running and walking with kids fun and easy.
1. Get Creative
The idea of going for a walk or exercising with Mom might not be particularly appealing to young children. But, with a few choice words and extra props, you can make your daily workout a lot more interesting.
There are lots of ways that you can get creative with your walks and runs, including the following:
- Relocate to more exciting destinations like parks, playgrounds, or hiking trails. These places give your kids more opportunities to run around, play, and explore while you get your sweat on.
- Take your camera or phone and let them take pictures along the way.
- Allow them to bring friends (or invite a friend with kids along) to keep them entertained.
- Pack healthy snacks and drinks and distribute them throughout the walk or jog to keep your kids engaged and on their best behavior.
- Have a scavenger hunt and tell them to be on the lookout for various items along the walking or jogging path
- Bring along books or small toys to keep them entertained while you push them in the stroller.
Read More: 11 Best Running Games for Your Child
2. Start Small
If your kids aren’t used to walking or jogging with you (on foot or in the stroller), don’t expect to start out with a five-mile run. Start by just walking or running with them around the neighborhood. As they get used to your walks and runs, you can start increasing the distance little by little.
Starting slow is also important for you. If you’re new to running — or new to running while pushing a stroller — be patient with yourself and increase your distance and speed gradually. Remember, the most important thing is that you’re out there moving!
3. Stay Safe
Be sure to take steps to prioritize their safety (and yours). If your kids are going to be walking or running with you, make sure they’re wearing supportive shoes and proper clothing. You should be wearing good running or walking shoes and socks, too. Moleskin is also great to have on hand for protecting your feet from blisters.
4. Give them Choices
Kids like to be in control, and it’s good for them to have opportunities to make their own decisions. If you’re having a hard time convincing them to accompany you on a walk or run, look for ways to let them have a say in the matter. For example, let them choose where you walk or run on a particular day.
You can also let them choose their snack or the running shoes they’ll wear. Little choices like this don’t really take away from the experience for you, but they allow your child to be a lot more engaged and interested in the workout.
5. Choose the Right Stroller or Carrier
If your kids are too young to walk or run alongside you, be sure to invest in a good carrier or stroller for them. Babies often do best when you wear them in a carrier that straps to your chest or back. Not only does this keep them safe and comfortable, but it also adds a little extra resistance for you (which means a better workout and more calories burned!).
If you’re going to push your child in a stroller, look for one that’s designed for long walks and jogs. These strollers are often lighter and easier to push for greater distances.
Read More: 21 Fun Activities To Do with Kids in Snow
6. Make it Part of Your Routine
When you’re first getting started, it can be hard to get your kids out the door and on the walking or jogging trail with you. But, if you make a daily walk or run part of your routine, soon, your kids will start to expect it. Try pairing your walk or run with something you do every day — for example, go right after a meal or before a nap.
7. Be Flexible
At the same time that it’s great to make walking or running part of your routine, it’s also important to remember to be flexible. Some days, a walk or run won’t happen, or won’t happen when you want it to. Maybe it’s raining, or maybe one of your kids is sick. If you’re in a situation like this, don’t try to force a walk or run.
Find another way to move (have a dance party or do some yoga) and then get back on track tomorrow.
Running and walking are both great ways to introduce your kids to exercise and sneak in a workout yourself. Following these tips will help you make running and walking with kids a fun habit.
Read More: fun activities for kids at beach