Anyone who knows me would say it’s karma. A child that is busy 24/7 and throws down temper tantrums more often than Naomi Campbell and Mel Gibson combined. However, knowing that I have a kid who would rather be busy and on the go, I make darn sure I’ve got the necessary supplies to endure our running adventures. Plus, I love how independent and dramatic my kid is!
Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan to run with a toddler:
- If your kid is prone to tantrums, make sure you don’t go just before nap or prior to meal time. Always try to organize runs around a well-rested and fed child. Trust me. Learned the hard way.
- Make sure you have plenty of snacks. Even if your toddler isn’t hungry, bring snacks along for the run. I know you shouldn’t encourage kids to play with their food but if s/he isn’t screaming, who cares?
- Bring toys. Think about this for a minute. We don’t go ANYWHERE without our phones, iPods, iPads etc., so imagine that you have to sit through the most boring 1-hour lecture of your life; maybe something along the lines of public health policy. Now, imagine you have to sit through it without some form of entertainment. EXACTLY!
- Engage your child throughout the run. Now, I’m definitely not saying you try to carry-on a conversation, but point things out along the way. “Wow – look at the pretty trees. What colour are the trees?” etc. Nothing is more boring than hanging out with someone who (a) pretends you aren’t there, and (b) won’t talk to you
- Keep your stroller activity to an hour or less. Seriously people. Your child is definitely not interested in running with you for longer than an hour. Let’s remember that at this young age, their attention span is that of a hummingbird.
- If you want to listen to music, put it on so you can both hear. In my case, I put my iPhone in the cup holder and crank the volume. Yeah, I know it’s a little disrespectful to the people around me but it’s better than being disrespectful to my little running buddy. Plus, I NEVER listen to 50 cent in mixed company!
- Make sure you praise them for good behaviour throughout the running adventure; and treating where appropriate.
- Finally, be respectful of their age and development. Your four/five year old does not want to be pushed around in a stroller anymore. They want to run WITH you.
Now, I can’t speak to #7 from experience, but I was at Sobey’s grocery shopping one day when a woman strolled in with what appeared to be a kid of AT LEAST six, maybe seven. He wanted to get out and walk; she wouldn’t let him. It was weird and creepy. At that point, I’m sure the kid could’ve kept up during the run anyway…
Anyway, hope this helps on your running journeys. It has helped me! Happy Trails!