I had the blessing of being able to run a 10K with my 9-year old daughter on Saturday. It was so fun! She has ran at least ten 5Ks in the past few years and wanted to do a 10K. It was so fun! When I asked her how she felt about it afterwards, she said,
“It was hard, but it was awesome!”
SO MANY life lessons in running. That is one of the reasons we have encouraged running in our kids. I mean, sure, my husband and I are both runners, so it is only natural that our kids would have a desire to do the same. However, now when we are tackling a tough subject in school… I can remind her of how awesome it felt to accomplish something that was difficult. And it’s not that you have to come in first or get the best grade in the class (Yes, we homeschool, but you get the idea)… it’s that you try your hardest and KNOW that you gave it your all. My hope is that she will remember all of this when she encounters a rough patch in a relationship, job, parenting, etc..
So, how can you encourage fitness in your kiddos?
- Lead by example. If you never go for a walk.. neither will they. If you talk about exercise like it’s drudgery or something you only do for weight loss, then that’s how they will think of it.
- Make it fun. On our runs, we talk about whatever she wants. This leads to some really awesome conversations. And some really silly ones! We live in the country and she likes to “high five” the tall grass on the side of the road. Sometimes we race the last little bit to our house. You get the idea.
- Don’t push too hard. It’s not fun and you don’t want them to think of physical fitness as a chore. If she wants/needs to walk, then we walk.
- Find something they enjoy. Everyone is not a runner and that’s OK. Maybe they would enjoy basketball or soccer or just going for a bike ride! Go shoot hoops with them. I am not good at basketball, but I can still try and shoot baskets with my girls.