Did You Know?
- Only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day.
- Less than 50% of the time spent in sports practice, games, and physical education class involves moving enough to even be considered physical activity.
- Children, on average, can spend up to 7 hours a day using TVs, computers, phones, and other electronic devices for entertainment.
Fellow running moms, let’s combat these stats by cultivating a culture of thriving and physically active children. According to research in The International Journal of Pediatrics, “Children learn their habits and attitudes toward physical activity very early in their development by observing and imitating their parents.” Why not set our kids up for a lifetime of appreciation for movement? Let’s show them that running is FUN. Doing so can be as easy as A, B, C (Amusement, Bonus, and Consistency).
Getting active isn’t a chore, it is an enjoyable privilege. The problem is, our busy lifestyles make us forget how much fun it can actually be. When exercise is fun, children are more willing to engage in it. (Heck, I’m more willing to engage in it when it’s fun too.) Incorporate one or two scheduled runs a week with engaging activities; activities that make them forget that they are even running. Here are two ideas:
1. Running Scavenger Hunt – Brainstorm with the kids a list of things to observe on your run; like a bird flying in the sky, a blue car, or a person walking their dog. I like to stash my list in some functional and fashionable tights so I have easy access to it and can still look good if I need to run an errand after. The Lucy Women’s Mat and Move Leggings not only look good, but the nice wide waistband has an inner stash pocket perfect for carrying that list.
2. Play Follow the Leader – Remember how much fun this was when you were little? Before you head out, explain some ground rules about length of leadership and what moves can be incorporated while running. My kids like to run with crazy arms, alternate between a fast and slow run, or run while singing a favorite song. For hands free fun I wear my waist pack for convenience and accessible hydration since everyone is bound to get thirsty during this workout.
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It’s human nature to think, “What’s in it for me?” Sometimes, offering a little external motivation accompanied by a powerful message about the internal joy running brings can be the catalyst for establishing this new routine. This bonus can be an excursion that emphasizes special time together. I like to plan a weekly jog to the park. The kids (and our dog) play for a bit and then we run back home. Another bonus that my kids appreciate is a jog to our local cafe where we enjoy some hot chocolate and muffins. Remember, the key to instilling a love for running is to find ways that make it an enjoyable experience. I like to think of these as my “making memories runs.” I’m obviously not training for my next marathon with these, but I find that the fulfillment I receive from sharing my passion with my kids is worth the change up of my routine to fit these workouts in once in a while. It’s all about developing a “Run Happy” philosophy for your family.
A consistent routine will take some time to develop. Plan for a meltdown or two, or probably five, but after it is established, think of how much you and your children will benefit from running together. As mothers, we know how important it is to connect with our children each day. I’ll be the first to admit that this can be hard to do among the chaos of daily life, but once I established this as a routine, through continued persistent effort, it was a game changer for me and my kids. Don’t let moving kids through the schedule of the day become the ritual. Instead, make a running ritual that becomes a fulfilling habit that can last a lifetime. What better way to connect with your little ones than over something that you love to do?
Jenny is a marathon mom in every sense of the word. Not only does she run marathons, but she is constantly running around with her two kids, helping to teach them the value of an active lifestyle.