I have a confession: I’m a stroller running addict. I am going to mourn the day when my kids are too big for me to push them while I run. It’s an incredible workout and has been amazing quality time with each of my three children.
But sometimes the run is a little too long for them to be happy while being pushed down the path like a king, and other times they are in unpredictable moods. And sometimes I just can’t handle one more question about Star Wars while I’m pushing a 5-year-old up a giant hill.
Here are five tricks to keeping your kids happy on a stroller run, because as we know — if the kid is happy, the runner is happy!
1. Pack snacks.
Snacks are the key to a happy rider. I try to pack things with small pieces so that it can keep them busy for a long time, such as cereal or crackers. When they eat something like a bar, they need my help to open the package, and then they’re done with it in about six seconds.
2. Are they holding it? Tether it.
I have a few really handy baby items that most people wouldn’t consider must-haves, but I have found them invaluable. A couple of those items are ropes and straps that tether sippy cups and snack cups to either the child or a stroller. There’s nothing worse than getting into a stroller-running groove and having a sippy cup go flying down the sidewalk.
3. Designate “stroller toys.”
I’ve often dangled a special toy for the kids that they can only have on a run. It stays tethered (see #2!) and lives in the running stroller. I’ve never let them have a cell phone or expensive gadget that could break if dropped on concrete, but something interactive works well.
4. Music rocks.
A small portable music player, or music playing from your phone in a running stroller console, can make all the difference in a happy or cranky rider. Find some tunes that your kid can sing along to, and you’ll be smiling for the whole run.
5. Mind the elements.
Keep in mind that your young rider won’t experience the same weather elements that you will while running. Stop frequently to peek over the hood of the stroller to be sure they aren’t being blinded by sun, or that they’re not freezing cold while you’re working up a sweat. Stashing a blanket and a child’s windbreaker in the bottom of the stroller can help avoid cutting the run short due to the rider’s discomfort.
6. Prepare in advance.
I try to pack up everything and get the stroller tires pumped up well in advance of the run. Otherwise, I have a child trying to climb in before I’ve even filled the sippy cup, and I’ve already lost part of his interest by the time we get going!
Every child is different — each of my three have different temperaments and different tricks that keep them from getting cranky or bring them back from a fussy mood to a happy one. Finding what works for your child is key to having a fantastic run together!
Do you run with a stroller? What’s your favorite trick for keeping a kid happy on a stroller run?