I frequently take my 2-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son on my runs -- in their jogging stroller, of course. But I'm looking forward to the day when they can actually run alongside me and we can all run races together.
So what's a safe age for kids to start running as a sport, rather than just bounding around the playground or backyard? If your child shows an interest in running, kindergarten is a good time to look for a youth running program or enter your child in a local kids' race (usually short distances of 100 – 400 meters). If they're younger than that, they may not "get" the concept of running a race or have the attention span for doing a structured workout.
When you do sign your child up for a running program, just make sure it isn't too regimented or intense. The idea is for kids to get some exercise, have fun, and learn to love running.
If your child shows an interest in running before the age of five, you definitely don't want to discourage him or her. You can encourage her to run by playing tag, doing an obstacle course, even chasing after the dog -- as long as it doesn't feel like a formal, structured program.
- How to Get Your Kids Interested in Running
- Are There Age Requirements to Run a Marathon?
- 6 Ways to Get Kids Moving
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