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Running with a toddler can be fun and fulfilling with the right mindset and preparation, especially for toddlers still learning to run. Here are 6 tips that will help you make it a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your child.
1. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
Running is an activity that strengthens the bond between you and your child. Treat it as an experience to laugh and to have fun and not something to be taken too seriously.
It’s a process, after all. Once they’re confident enough to walk without falling, you can teach them how to run, one step at a time. Remove any expectations that they’ll become your running companion overnight. What makes it fun is being able to teach and bond with your child.
2. Constant Encouragement
Running with your toddler is going to be a learning process. Chances are, they won’t be able to run several feet without stumbling at the start. This is where constant encouragement becomes important.
Even when they stumble or cry, encouraging them teaches them that it’s OK to fall down and cry and then try again. They’ll feel much safer and confident with your love and encouragement with every step they take.
Be sure to keep you and your toddler hydrated when going for a run. If your baby’s not used to running yet, they might get exhausted easily. Having a bottle of water with you will help your child cool down when needed.
4. Be Prepared to Carry Their Jackets
Running outdoors with a jacket on can get hot, especially for toddlers. It can also get uncomfortable if it’s too stuffy. So be ready to carry their jackets so that they have more freedom of movement. Be sure not to bring too many things with you while you run.
Of course, if the weather’s cold, they should keep their jackets on so they don’t freeze!
5. Get Them Warm and Clean Quickly Afterwards
Running will make you and your toddler sweat, and things can get messy especially if you’re running in the snow or at the park where it’s easy to get dirty.
After running, get them indoors where it’s warm, and clean them up so they don’t get smelly and they’ll be all freshened up before they rest or move on to their next activity.
6. Teach Them to Enjoy It – It’s Not All Competition
About the first point, running is an activity that should be enjoyed by both you and your toddler. At that age, running is a fun and exciting experience that they get to do with you. Let them enjoy this form of freedom where they can go where their legs take them while enjoying the outdoors.
Competition can come in later on as they grow older and when they have a better appreciation of running as a sport.