Guest post by Stephanie Pereira da Silva

Keeping your children healthy and happy are two common goals we have as parents and caretakers. After this past year with COVID, we want to make every moment count when it comes to our health. Helping your child find a love for running, you will not only be increasing their happiness, but you will also be prioritizing their health. Many studies have suggested that kids who spend more time exercising and playing have improved confidence, better sleep and healthier nutritional choices.

With this in mind, there is no time like the present to get your children excited about being active. Here are the pdsF.U.S.I.O.N. top 5 ways to foster a lifelong love of running in your children.

1. Make it FUN!

Your kids aren’t going to be interested in doing sprints or running mile after mile when they first start out— so be sure to make it fun for them. Change up the location of your runs whether you’re at the park, on a hiking trail, on the treadmill or even at the track. There are also many different fun running games you can play with your children. Try a leapfrog run. This is when all members running will run in a straight line, then after a certain amount of time, the person in back sprints to the front and gets to lead the rest of the run. Relay races, different forms of tag or running games in general are a great way to do this too. Our family enjoys doing the “I Spy Game” on our runs. It brings a smile to every mile!

Children notice everything and learn from what they see and hear. If you want them to enjoy running and being active, you should run with them and show a positive attitude towards running. If they hear you complaining about your run after work, they’re going to start doing the same! If you’re excited and positive about it, they will associate that feeling and reaction with their own runs. Children (and adults) thrive on routine. If you set the example that every day after school you go for a walk, run or even bike ride it becomes a habit. Healthy habits are hard to break! At the Oshkosh Summer Fun Runs, we even run a parent mile. This gives the parents something to work for and the kids love to see their parents run too!

Photo provided by Stephanie Pereira da Silva

Having your children set goals for themselves will encourage them and create a sense of accomplishment. This can be something as small as running around the block without stopping or beating their mile time. Goals foster intrinsic motivation which will keep your child wanting to run and stay active. My best advice is a training calendar, where you can visually check off the days of your training. Check out the link to the training calendar created by pdsF.U.S.I.O.N. for a summer of fitness.

Photos provided by Stephanie Pereira da Silva

Finally, spark some competition! Keep it light and fun but challenge your kiddos to put their running skills to the test. Every kid enjoys being able to show off what they’ve got and have fun while doing it! Another event put on by pdsF.U.S.I.O.N. is the Oshkosh Summer Fun Runs. These are four runs that take place within the Oshkosh Area. This event brings in children and families local to Oshkosh to compete in a friendly, yet fun, run! Putting your child in local 5Ks or any sort of running competition will help them practice their racing skills while still having fun in the community.

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