July 22, 2024

Introducing your Child to Running written by Hope Epton

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Introducing Your Child to Running written by Hope Epton

It seems as if we are waiting forever for our little ones to crawl, walk and eventually run. Once they start, it’s almost impossible to keep them contained. I don’t know about you but there are still times when I see my 2-year-old running, and inside I am cringing, waiting to see if she stops without a face plant.

I started running when I joined the Army at 17, so for 20 years I’ve been pounding the pavement (and occasional trail) for both physical as well as mental health.  If you are passionate about running as I am, you may dream of the day your youngster wants to emulate you. If or when that day comes, you may, as I did, tear up when they ask you for a pair of shoes, specifically for running. About a year or so ago my now 17 year old told me he was going to go out for the track team. I was beyond excited, and still wondered – what took him so long?

So how do you get your child involved in running?

Set the Example: The first step in introducing your child to running can be a simple as being an example. If your child takes an interest in running, why not bring them along? A trip to the track or even a park with a running path, for a short distance run may be empowering and build confidence. Over time, if they stay interested, you can add to the distance. Now, not all kids are going to want to continue to run, some may try it and find it’s not for them, remember to encourage without pressuring.

Make it Fun:  This Thanksgiving I registered my two year old for her first “tot trot”. Sure, it was only 50 yards, but lets face it, that is about her attention span. The important thing at this stage is exposure. Remember the days of kickball or Red Light – Green Light? Most kids don’t realize how much they run just playing, which is where activity habits are formed.  Find a local race or create your own event in your neighborhood. Keeping the atmosphere light and playful may just bud their interest in running purposefully. My son and I did a mud run together, and that I believe is what sparked his interest in running.

Attend a Kids Clinic: If your child is between 4-12 perhaps your local running club/group has a kids running clinic. I helped coach a kid’s clinic two summers ago and it was a lot of fun. Your child can get the basics, building a foundation for safe running. It also helps them meet other children with the same interests.

This article is written by Hope Epton. ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist. Follow Hope on her blog at http://SportyMom.me. Or via her facebook page http://facebook.com/SportyMomme, twitter http://twitter.com/SportyMomme or pinterest, http://pinterest.com/SportyMomme