Feed the kids, pack lunches, work all day, fold the clothes, do homework, give baths, fix dinner and so much more. This is just a small (very small) portion of a mother’s day. Whether you work from home, away from home or stay at home, tending to your children all day makes your “workload” full. You’re constantly multitasking throughout the day to get all of these things done for your family.
And, with a seemingly never-ending to-do list, it can often feel near impossible to find the time for your own self-care including exercising and eating healthy.
However, there are ways to make an effort to go work out or to go for a run. Going for a run as a mother can be easier than heading to a gym because unfortunately, not all gyms offer childcare for those who need it. So if running is something that you love to do or want to do but you’re just not sure how to balance it, here are some tips below to help you begin running with your children and managing the workout session with kids in your care.
11 Essential Tips for Running with Your Kids
Let go of guilt. It’s hard not to feel guilty in many areas of motherhood, but going for a run shouldn’t bring about more guilt. Remind yourself and even your family, that running helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle which helps protect your health for the years ahead. You are also setting an example for your children to lead a healthier lifestyle in the future.
Create a schedule. Find a time that works best for your family. Running every day may not be ideal in some situations and you may not be able to run at the same time daily. Find a schedule that works best for your family and stick to it. Don’t give up just because you can’t run every day or because you have a few chaotic days with unforeseen hiccups.
Involve your children. This is a win-win-win solution especially for the mother who doesn’t have someone to watch her kids. Have your kids ride their bicycle with you or cruise in their power wheel beside you. You can even push the little ones in the stroller during your run, and it turns out that you don’t really have to have some fancy jogging stroller. Any stroller will usually do just fine!
If you have your children with you while running consider these tips:
1. Safety first. Make sure you’re running in an area appropriate for them to be with you such as a park, your neighborhood street or a school track. Consider which side of the road you should be on and make sure you all stay on the same side.
2. Put them in your sight. Make sure they stay in front of you so they can be visible to you at all times.
3. Don’t use headphones. Using headphones isn’t recommended when running with children beside you because you want to be able to hear all sounds, vehicles and more around you.
4. Wear reflectors. If you’re running in the evening when it’s possible for the sun to start going down, make sure you have appropriate clothing on for people passing by.
5. Make it fun. Think of a game with your children to count how many laps you do or have them play “I SPY” with each other while out on their run. Challenge them each day to do another lap with you or to think of a new thing to find on their daily run with you. We also recommend nature trails over boring old pavement, where there’s so much more for the little ones to see and experience.
6. Start off slow. If your kids haven’t run much before, then you might start off with longer walks which transition into manageable jogs after a while.
7. Plan for bathroom breaks. You have to be flexible when you bring your kids along for the ride because you never know when the unexpected might occur.
8. Let them bike while you run. If your training sessions are on the longer side, you might consider bringing a bike or scooter for your kids so that they can keep up with you -- assuming they are already solid bike riders!
9. Wear matching outfits. Children often get excited over the smallest things. Buy them some new running shoes for their bike riding (or even if they want to jog too). Let them pick out some Crazy Compression socks or grab them a cool hat with their favorite character on it. Help them feel like they have gear too!
10. Reward them. Help them understand how important this time is for you (and for them) by rewarding them with something like a smoothie post run or an extra 10 minutes of electronic time since they had an evening of outdoor play. This may make the daily activity more exciting for them if they know that they will also get something out of it.
11. Encourage them. Help them to understand that by running and making healthy choices, we are setting ourselves up for a better future. Use this as a way to set an excellent example for your kids.
Running with children isn’t always ideal simply because mothers enjoy their “alone time,” but sometimes us moms just have to do what we have to do. As mothers, a lot of self-care gets put on the back burner as the needs of our family come before ours, but our health and well being should never get put on the back burner.
Find the time to squeeze out a few extra minutes of outdoor fun with your children. Put on your favorite running top, your Crazy Compression socks and your running shoes and head out the door with your little ones. Make it a fun experience for everyone and get your fitness in while setting an example for your children and creating memories with them!