According to KidsHealth.org, physical activity not only helps kids build strong muscles and bones and control weight, it can also help them sleep better, be more academically motivated and successful. So, while you’re making New Year’s resolutions for fitness and better health, take your kids along for the ride!
One of the ways I get my kids moving is to get them running—as in, literally running. My husband and I often run 5K races and we’ve started challenging our kids to do them, too. Here’s how we do it.
1. Make it a family affair.
Kids learn so much by watching their parents. And they’ll learn a lot from what you deem important. We make running an important event in our house, participating in 5Ks at least twice a month. Even if we aren’t all participating, the whole family comes along to cheer.
Some races also include fun activities for kids like bounce houses and face painting. It might help to start off by choosing races that include these types of kid-focused incentives.
2. Make it fun!
Even if the race doesn’t have kids activities built in, you can add some fun to the event on your own, by dressing silly, taking along their favorite stuffed animal to run with them or planning a fun activity afterward as a reward.
Around the holidays, we pick a lot of holiday-themed races like a ‘Reindeer Run’ or ‘Santa Walk.’ And this year I made ‘Rudolph Running Club’ t-shirts for the kids to get them a little more excited.
3. When all else fails, bribe them.
I’m not embarrassed to say I also bribe my kids to run. I got the idea from our school’s PE coach who’s also on American Ninja Warrior. I’d rather pay my kids for things that will make them healthier than give them an arbitrary allowance.
Right now, I pay my kids $1 for each minute they run. In our last fun run they each earned $9. And we’re hoping to increase their “running bonus” next time.