In a study conducted by the Department of Education in California, they determined “Higher achievement was associated with higher levels of fitness in the three grades they tested.” Almost 1 million kids were tested. So in short, the more physically fit a child is, the smarter he is! And it makes sense. Exercise helps kids focus in the classroom, just as good nutrition does.
The end of winter is marked by an abundance of local running races that I want to sign up for. I’m a fair weather runner, and wouldn’t dream of taking my family to a race in the snow on purpose. But the weather is perfect right now for races, and this past weekend our family ran a 5K. Well, four of us ran the 5k, and Erica, my 12 year old ran the 1 mile kids race with her 7 year old cousin. Running one or two races every year has become a tradition for us, as we love to support local fundraising efforts and be active at the same time. Plus, we always have a great time!
Here are the 10 things we think will get your kids not only involved in running races, but excited too!
- Start Young. The first pictures I have of my kids in a race were from 2007. My kids were 4, 6, and 8 years old. They were young enough to tag along with every crazy idea mom came up with.
- Keep it short No need to sign up for a half marathon! Races are fun because for kids because of the atmosphere, and the crowds, not because they are trying to push themselves to the limits. 1 mile races for kids are perfect. We saw kids as young as 3 running the one mile this past weekend! To find a race that qualifies as short, use the search feature on active.com! It has everything!
- Find some fun races: My oldest son and I ran the Halloween half marathon last fall, where everyone was dressed up in costume! We’ve also signed up for the Dirty Dash in Utah as a family this year (where there will be obstacles, and lot’s of dirt!). But one race that my boys are dying to run is the Zombie Run! You will literally be runnign for your life! lol. I think they’ve played plants vs. zombies a little too many times. But for us girls, Erica and I did a girls only run, which was fun!
- Stay for the festivities and giveaways Make sure you have an open day so you can hang out as long as they’d like to. Who knows, maybe they’ll win something!
- Bring a cheering section: Bring grandparents or other siblings to cheer each other on! Kids love having their own cheering section. Make signs, bring cow bells, or anything you can think of to make some noise.
- Explore beyond running. We found this kids triathlon one year. It was something like: 1/4 mile run, 1 mile bike, and a lap or two of swimming. Our Nathan loved it!
- Enjoy the “recovery” food. when I asked my kids what makes them want to run races together, you know what they said… the food! LOL.. I guess bananas and oranges taste better after a run! But then again, maybe they were remembering the Cookie Run we did last year. : )
- Be a role model. Don’t just have your kids run each time. Challenge yourself to go farther or faster, and let your kids come to cheer you on! They will see your hard work pay off.
- Encourage training time– This doesn’t need to be torture! Family walks at night, a pick up game of soccer, or some relays can be fun for kids and get them ready for their race at the same time.
- Make it a tradition! When I think about the tradition we have of running races together, I almost get weepy! I love this time with my family, and I love sharing my love of running with my kids. If there is one thing I want them to grow up knowing is that exercise is fun and not drudgery! I really think races are a way to make it fun!
and I should add #11: of course, run for a good cause! If our school is doing a fundraiser, we always participate! It’s a great way to get involved and give money to a good cause:
So, help your kids get smart and in shape at the same time, but starting a new family tradition: RACING!