How to Teach Your Kids to Run (& Enjoy It)

Written By: Jeremy N

Running alone or with a buddy has their benefits. Many of us enjoy running for the solitude and space it provides to think and reflect, but most runners appreciate the social aspect of the activity as well.

Running as a family is one of the most wonderful things for parents who enjoy running! It's never too soon to get your kids involved, and it can be an incredible bonding experience.

Do you want to know how to teach your children to run?

Here are some ideas and suggestions for getting youngsters of all ages interested in and involved in running. We've also got some tactics for teaching them how to run correctly from the moment you say "Go!".

How to Teach Your Kids to Run (& Enjoy It)

Why Should Kids Run? Running Benefits for Kids

You already know the mental and physical benefits of running. But has it crossed your mind to involve running with your kids?

There are a ton of benefits of running that your kids should be taking advantage of now while they’re young! Research shows running can change the life of your child. 

Here are a handful of the most compelling reasons to begin getting your kids involved in running as soon as possible.

Why Should Kids Run?

Teaching the Importance of Physical Fitness

It's not easy to include physical fitness into everyday life as an adult. It's not something we all had growing up, making it much more difficult to fit into our daily routines. Just the thought of waking up at 5A or 6A to run everyday can be daunting.

Teaching your kids to run from a young age instills a love for physical fitness and health. This is something we should all be teaching our children!

It's also easier to maintain as they get older when they have health and fitness as a big part of their daily routine.

Teaches Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Going for a run allows me to clear my mind, reduce stress, and bring your anxiety levels down. In addition, I am a better parent to my two little girls because of more patience. All of these traits I would like for my kids, wouldn't you?

It's really simple for kids to turn to destructive and harmful strategies of dealing with stress in today's society. Drug abuse, alcoholism, violent video games, and other coping methods have become the norm in today's world.

Learning to run may not protect your youngster from the craziness of the world, but it does provide them with a healthier response when they're anxious or upset.

It's well known that exercise produces feel-good feelings that may help reduce stress and anxiety. It's critical for parents to teach their children how to get the serotonin boost from exercise rather than through other methods.

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Opens Their Eyes to Appreciate Nature

You can't do a trail run without noticing the stunning surroundings! Early exposure to running helps your children get used to being out and about, surrounded by nature and breathing clean air.

Spending time in nature has been shown to enhance mental health, boost cognitive abilities, and lower stress levels. Starting your kid off early with exposure to nature prepares them for a better mental health, smarter thinking abilities, and a happier life as an adult!

Bonding Time

Do you want to know how to connect with your children on a deeper level while still finding things to bond over? Running may be the ideal method to do so. There are numerous alternatives. As a family, go for a jog around the block, go for a park run, or go on an excursion/trail run.

The possibilities for enjoyment are endless! Combine it with a little competitiveness and you've got yourself a healthy, entertaining game that brings the family together.

How to Teach Your Kids to Run

How to Teach Your Kids to Run

How can you teach your children to run if they aren't already into it? The key is to bring running into their lives in an age-appropriate manner.

Naturally, you know your child best! You'll have a good sense of how to encourage them to learn to run and how best to incorporate them into your current running routine.

However, keep in mind that some children will just not enjoy the activity, no matter how hard you try. Don't make them run if they aren't enthusiastic about it! Instead, find various methods to keep your kids active and happy while also strengthening your bond with them.

For a child who adores getting physical, here are some suggestions for piquing their interest in running, no matter what age they are.


Toddlers have a lot of energy, right? Well, not always. Keep in mind that at this age, your children will run in short bursts! Then they'll most likely crash, but you'll almost certainly notice that they sleep better when running becomes a routine part of their day.

For my walks with my three-year old, she likes to wear her Halloween costume. As funny as it sounds, she thinks this is fun and this is the ONLY way I can get her out for a walk.

At this age, the ideal thing to do is expose your youngster to running-related games. It's extremely unlikely that your toddler will enjoy the monotony of jogging in comparison with us grownups.

As a result, you need to make it appealing and entertaining for them. Relay races, obstacle course races, tag games,

When they are older, you may begin to teach them the fundamentals of running. Once more, don't push it on them. Getting it in in a pleasant method is your greatest bet. If they lose interest, though, don't be offended or upset. Instead, look for methods to keep them healthy and active and try again when they're a


  • Challenge them to a race (and let them win) - race to certain spots
  • Play running games (run for a little bit, then skip, etc.)
  • Set up an obstacle course or use sidewalk chalk for shapes
  • Reward them for running

Elementary to Pre-Teens

At this age, constant stimulation is required to avoid boredom from setting in! Getting your youngster a fitness tracker may be a wonderful way to push them and keep them active at this time. You can set objectives, achieve milestones, and play games related to exercise using a fitness tracker.

Setting and ticking off games is a wonderful method to work on your goals with your child, or as a family. For parents, the major benefit is that these trackers frequently include safety features, which can go a long way toward reducing your anxiety when your kid is active!


  • Pick up a fitness tracker
  • Add a running-related activities to their chores
  • Set running goals or signup for a 5K together
  • Challenge them to a race


Teens are often attracted to high-tech gizmos, so giving them a smartwatch for Christmas or their birthday might get them started. The majority of smartwatches are built with fitness in mind, so if they want to make the most of it, they'll have to sweat.

For many youngsters, the concept of a pair of high-tech running shoes may provide the same boost. For many teenagers, the "cool factor" will be an important consideration as well!

However, if you want to motivate your teen with a nice piece of technology, it's a good idea to add a clause. For example, they must run with you at least once a week so you can ensure that they're actually utilizing it for its intended purpose!


  • Win them over with technology or fancy running shoes
  • Create a running plan or schedule to run together
  • Commit to doing a parent/teen event, particularly a 5K
  • Ask your teen to be your accountability partner (will only work with some teens)
  • Create a competition and offer rewards (longest run, etc)
Why is exercise important for kids?

Most people know that exercise is important for maintaining good health, but it’s especially important for kids. That’s because physical activity helps to promote healthy growth and development. It also helps to build strong bones and muscles, and it can help to improve coordination and balance. In addition, exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and increase self-esteem.

And of course, being active is also a great way for kids to have fun. So if you’re looking for ways to help your kids stay healthy and happy, encouraging them to get moving is a great place to start.

Encouraging kids to be physically active can also help to instill positive habits that will last a lifetime.

How do I run with my child?

There's no need to wait until your child is a certain age to start running with them. In fact, running with your child can be a great bonding experience.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you hit the pavement with your little one.

First, start slow and build up gradually. If your child is young, they may not be able to keep up with your pace right away. Just take it easy at first and increase the intensity as they get used to running.

Second, be sure to bring along some water and snacks. Every parent's friend are snacks. Honestly, I think my kids have two stomachs a small one for meals and a large one for snacks.

This is especially important on hot days or if your child starts to get tired. And finally, make sure you have a good stroller.

A stroller designed for running will be more comfortable for both you and your child and will make the experience more enjoyable for both of you. With these tips in mind, you're ready to hit the streets with your pint-sized partner!

What's best way to get my kids active?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to get your kids active will vary depending on their age, interests, and energy levels. However, there are a few general tips that can help.

First of all, try to lead by example and be active yourself. This will help to encourage your children and make them more likely to want to be active themselves.

Secondly, make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for physical activity built into your family's daily routine. This could involve going for a walk or bike ride together, playing games in the yard, or even just dancing around the living room.

Finally, don't forget about structured physical activity such as sports or swimming lessons.

These can be great ways to get kids moving, while also teaching them important skills and helping them to socialize.

Ultimately, the best way to get your kids active will depend on what works best for your family. however, following these tips should help you to find a solution that works well for you.

What Are Some Age-appropriate running games for kids

Running is a great way for kids to get exercise, but sometimes it can be hard to get them to run for more than a few minutes at a time. That's where running games come in. They can help kids burn off energy and have fun at the same time. Some age-appropriate running games for kids include:

-Tag: A classic game that can be played with any number of people. One person is 'it' and tries to tag the other players. The player who is 'it' can only tag people who are not moving.

-Red light, green light: This is a game that can be played with two or more people. One person is the 'traffic light' and stands at one end of the playing area. The other players line up at the other end. When the 'traffic light' says 'green light', everyone starts running toward him/her. When he/she says 'red light', everyone must stop. If anyone doesn't stop, they have to go back to the start line. The first person to reach the 'traffic light' wins the game.

-Relay race: This is a game that can be played with teams of two or more people. Each team lines up at the start line and has a baton (or something similar). The first person in each team runs to the end of the playing area and back, then hands off the baton to the next person in line. The team that finishes first wins the race.

How often can my child run a week?

This answer depends on a few things.

If your child already runs a lot, you may be wondering how often they should run per week. The answer, of course, depends on a variety of factors, including age, fitness level, and training goals.

However, most experts agree, and I support the notion that young runners should not run more than three or four times per week. This allows the body to recover from each run and reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

Additionally, it is important to make sure that each run is not too long or too intense. For example, a 10-year-old runner should not try to run a marathon. Instead, they should focus on short runs at a comfortable pace.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your child enjoys running and stays healthy in the process.

At what age should I push my child to start running?

The answer to this question is... depends.

The best age to begin depends on your child's individual physical development and maturity level. If your child is generally active and shows an interest in running, then starting around age six or seven is usually fine. My daughter picked it up at 7 and my youngest just likes to play the games like tag.

However, if your child is on the less active side, you may want to wait until they are a bit older, such as eight or nine. Ultimately, the most important thing is to let your child take the lead. If they seem interested and motivated, then go ahead and encourage them to give running a try.

However, if they seem apathetic or resistant, then it may be best to wait a while longer. Trust your instincts and let your child set the pace.

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Introducing your children to running as soon as they are able to walk can help them have a healthier, more well-rounded existence. Even if you adore running, not every kid will like it.

If you attempt to get your kid into it and they don't like it after numerous tries, their enthusiasm is clearly elsewhere!

Why wait? Start exposing your children to running at an early age, and they'll be rewarded as they get older.

Above all, keep in mind to have fun as a family and to be encouraging, loving, and upbeat at all times. When your youngsters are involved, it's not a race.Instead of focusing on winning, instill in them a passion for the sensation you get when you're running against the wind, the rush you get at your stride speed, and the pure joy of being out in nature.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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