How do you introduce children to love running? A child is always a child, they are easily excited about doing a particular thing and with the same speed, they will get disinterested very fast. You have to learn a few aspects that would make kids want to run. Some of these factors are, a promised reward, being with friends and having fun and not forgetting some sense of ownership in the whole game. Below are a few interesting ideas to help your child to develop a interest in running.
1. How do you make it fun?
In order for the kids to have fun, you must be a jovial person and ready to have fun with them too. Organize surprises for the children and do something out of the normal routine. Come up with fun runs like a hill run, a night run, a festive day competition run, a culture run among others. Sometimes do your warm up in a different style, like getting them out of town, also do your warm up on a different game like cycling, jogging, dancing among others. In essence, kids don’t like the same routine day in day out they get bored very easily. So be creative.
2. What about ownership?
It is recommended for any activities done with the kids, to let them own it. Let them make the decisions, not mummy or daddy this time; it is their game. Listen to them and give them some sort of freedom and opportunity to express themselves. Let them know it’s their game and not your game. When it flows like this, they actually open up and you get to learn and understand them better and this makes it easy to discover their weaknesses which will give you a platform to be able to help them better. Don’t make them feel like running is a program they must participate in but rather it is a choice one has to make and pursue depending on what they would like to achieve. You can take it up as a career, for fun or just to stay healthy and fit.
3. Friendship. Are my friends coming?
Team spirit is the secret here. Just like adults, when kids cooperate and work towards a certain goal in one spirit, they are secure and all energized for whatever challenge is ahead of them. To attain this team spirit, organize team bonding events that will help the team to strengthen their friendship and stand for each other no matter what. Events like birthday parties for each team member would be a great avenue as you ensure everyone’s participation.
4. Is There a Reward For Me?
Come up with a reward system for the group or individuals. When the kids do well, tell them not by just words but by action, reward them. This is a great way to motivate them that they can succeed and do even better. It leaves one proud of him or herself. However, it is very important to ensure that the rewards don’t overtake the mission for running so keep it simple and don’t overdo it. If it is overdone the kids will only be motivated as long as they know they will get a reward, if there’s no reward then they are not interested. Always do it wisely.
5. Emotional Support
When kids have their Guardians moral and emotional support, they tend to be more successful in whatever they are pursuing in this case running. Ensure it is the total responsibility of every parent or guardian to ensure they sometimes avail themselves during these kid practices and always during their competition. If running is being done for any other reason, let the parent run with the kid and show them how it’s done and why it’s done especially for health purposes. Just develop a strong cheering squad. This has been known to work for many years and its fun too.
6. Measure Progress
Keep a record in order to track the progress for the kids and identify where they need improvement. Repeat runs in order to measure progress. If it is a running program just for a period of time, issue certificates upon completion.
7. Expose Them to Older Mentors
Let the kids learn from great retired athletes who have achieved great medals in the past and share their experience. Let them participate or spectate in major regional or national events to witness what exactly happens at higher levels.
Children won’t always want to run, as parents, guardians and coaches, decided wisely on how far you should push them and if possible, let them set their own pace. The best thing to always do while introducing children to running is to educate them, motivate them, reward them and be involved, especially after a job well done.