Family Exercise: 5 Easy Tips for Running with Your Kids

Taking Care of You: These parenting tips for running with your kids are brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington.

Taking Care of YOU--Tips and Tricks for Everyday ParentsFinding time to run when you have a family can be challenging. Earlier this summer, we shared tips for running with a stroller for parents of younger children.

If your child is too large for a stroller, consider having them run WITH you. It is obviously not the same intense workout, but it you’re still up and moving. Remember the catch phrase…

No matter how slow you go, you are still
lapping everyone on the couch.

More importantly, you are teaching your child about the importance of being healthy and active together.

Family Exercise: 5 Easy Tips for Running with Your Kids *great tips

According to President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition:

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day;2 only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.3
  • Only one in three children are physically active every day.1
  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computer).7
  • Only 6 states (Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and Vermont) require physical education in every grade, K-12.22
  • Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese.12

Embracing an active lifestyle is important for parents, too. We can teach our kids to enjoy exercise, but we can also demonstrate an important  life lesson… taking care of you is important.

Family Exercise: 5 Easy Tips for Running with Your Kids *great tips

Here are five easy tips for running WITH your kids:

  1. Run in a variety of places. Variety is the spice of life. Run in your neighborhood, at the park, at your local gym, or on a trail. Keep the experience fresh!
  2. Track your time. Keep a record of your time and watch as your family improves. We enjoy using the Map My Run app when we are out.
  3. Play. Chase your child once and awhile. Do a sprint race. Be open to keeping the experience playful.
  4. Offer a reward at the end. Keep it simple: a smile, a yogurt cup, playing a game, or even just saying, “This was fun.”
  5. Have an end goal in mind. Consider signing your family up for a local run to incentivize everyone.

Bollie Ladybug KickballOur family enjoys running together at our local playground. There is a path around the area and at the end of our jaunt we spend time playing on the equipment.

Another favorite “reward” after running in our neighborhood is to play four square in the driveway with our Melissa & Doug kickball.

Last summer, my little ladies prepped for and ran a 1K community fundraiser for our local school district. The positive energy at the event was inspiring. They had a great time running with other kids from the area.

Family Exercise: 5 Easy Tips for Running with Your Kids *great tips

Many communities hold Thanksgiving Day runs. Check your area for an event and consider getting your extended family involved, too. Last year, our family did a Thursday morning Turkey Trot. It was a great way to start off the holiday weekend!

Have you ever tried running with your children? What additional tips would you suggest? Let’s chat in the comments below.

P.S. A quick reminder that it is never too late to start running with your kids. This post is dedicate to my father, who decided upon retiring that he was going to be a triathlete. He continues to inspire his children and grandchildren with each run he participates in.


Editor’s Note: This article does not constitute medical advice.
Do not begin an exercise routine without consulting your doctor.


Zina from Let's Lasso the MoonThese creative fitness tips are brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador
Zina Harrington.

Zina is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments.

See all Blog Ambassador posts by Zina
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1 National Association for Sport and Physical Education. The Fitness Equation: Physical Activity + Balanced Diet = Fit Kids. Reston, VA: National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 1999.

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010. Available at:

5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2020. Available at:

12 Wang, Y Claire, McPherson, Klim, Marsh, Tim, Gortmaker, Steven L., Brown, Martin. Health and Economic Burden of the Projected Obesity Trends in the USA and the UK. The Lancet; 2011.

22 National Association for Sport and Physical Education/American Heart Association. 2012 Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA. Available at: .

7 Rideout, Victoria J., Foehr, Ulla G., and Roberts, Donald F. Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. Rep. Menlo Park: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010.


Taking Care of You

Taking Care of YOU--Tips and Tricks for Everyday ParentsWe know your days are busy working, kissing boo-boos, juggling laundry, making dentist appointments, and reading good-night stories. As parents, we instinctively put our children’s needs first. We prioritize their health and their happiness above our own.

It’s time to step back and look at the whole picture. You need to take care of you FOR THEM. You are the only one who can give your child a happy parent who enjoys life. What a wonderful gift!

We know that Taking Care of You is easier said than done. So, throughout the summer, we’ll continue to share weekly posts with simple, easy, unique ideas to keep you inspired. In this special series, our Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassadors will share their practical, real-life advice on how to:

  • Focus on your own well-being
  • Make healthy eating simple + enjoyable
  • Build exercise into your family routine
  • …and more!


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Family Exercise: 5 Easy Tips for Running with Your Kids *great tips



  1. What great ideas. My oldest has ridden her bike while I run with the stroller, but I think we can start her running. A lot of longer, competitive races have kids run too, so while I run a challenging race, my oldest can run her 1K too. My uncle also challenges all his grandkids to race in races with him and offers to pay all the entries if they race with him, even if he usually beats the rest of us.