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How to Occupy Children During Long(er) Runs

Runners ResourcesWhitney CarlsonComment

Running with your jogging stroller and your 6 month old baby might have seemed rather easy, comparatively. As they get a little older; however, it might get harder since they have "opinions" as to whether or not they want to go and for how long they are willing to sit. Beating boredom for your little ones while you pound the pavement during a longer run can be challenging. Here are some of our ideas for helping both of you (or more than two of you) power through your runs.

How to Occupy Children During Long(er) Runs

1. Set the stage. If you typically run first thing in the morning, this might be a little harder, but creating excitement about the run is key! Start the night before or the morning of, talking up your run. Get excited about the upcoming run and tell them how much you are going to enjoy it and how much they will too - multiple times. Pretend like your runs are just as exciting as going to Disney!

2. Be consistent. Don't just run every once in a while. Make it a habit and part of your routine. When kids know what to expect and think that it's just something they do as a part of their day (or their week), they will be less likely to fight you. After all, you won't be taking away from something they would normally be doing in that time span.

3. Bring snacks and drinks. We don't allow Bryce to snack between meal times, but this has worked for our friends and of course, we do bring water and milk along for Bryce to drink on our runs. If your child tends to get hungry, bring along easy snack foods, like raisins or carrot sticks that they can munch on safely while you run. Be sure to monitor their progress while you run though to ensure that they haven't had a mishap with their snack when you hit a bump or a sharp turn.

4. Have "stroller-only" toys. When your child is smaller, this is a little easier to do. A favorite toy tethered (but still safe) to your jogging stroller that is only for use when the jogging stroller is in motion is a great incentive to get your little one to sit still in a jogging stroller. If you haven't purchased a jogging stroller yet, make sure to get one that has a compartment on the back (not on the bottom) so that you can store additional toys. Be sure to let your child know these toys are specifically for the stroller!

4. Play games or sing songs. Try "I Spy" or sing silly songs with your child. It might slow you down a little, but they will still feel like they are getting attention from Mom or Dad and you definitely be making some memories. Just don't forget to breathe!

5. Run to the park. Your playtime is your run, but for your little one, it's not as stimulating or fun as a whirl down the slide at the playground. Although the park might be 1 mile from your home, create a route that takes a little more time and longer distance on your way to the park. You might run 4 miles there, but a brisk, one-mile walk or jog back won't be so bad after your child plays their heart out on the playground.

6. Run during nap time. This might work a little easier for your longer runs and if your child is taking one nap, but a run that is over an hour during nap time might be exactly what you need to get them to sleep! You get your run in and they get some quality sleep in the stroller. NOTE: This is definitely dependent upon the child. Bryce will sleep in the stroller, but he doesn't seem as rested as he does when he gets the crib nap. It's up to you and your little one!

Finally, number 7, If all else fails... bribe them! Yes, we said it! Bribing isn't always bad - teach them a little give and take. If they give an hour of their time to let you take them on a run, they can take a trip to a park that is further away, a splash pad or something else they are going to enjoy. Of course, we recommend not bribing with food or candy, but we will leave that up to you!

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