Last month, I made the daring decision to run with my children. If you are a parent reading this, you are probably wondering what was I thinking! Children can have you go running in circles and possibly running for your life! Truth be told, running with my children has been a revealing activity for me on so many levels (no, it didn’t incite me to run away from my children, even though I can’t deny that at times, that does sound appealing!).
When I started realizing that my household was becoming a house of zombies, with my kids dazed away in their tech-savvy worlds, I realized that I had to get them to do some kind of activity. It had to be something doable, not too crazy, and most importantly, I wanted to be a part of it. Parachuting and skydiving might be taking it a bit too far, and we definitely couldn’t maintain that on a regular basis. So what did I finally come up? Yep, running!
I was bursting internally with the joy of finally finding something active to do with my kids. An opportunity had arisen where I could bond with them and relate to them on their level. I was motivated, but getting my children motivated was a whole new ball game! So, how did I motivate them?
- Incentive: kids need to be rewarded. The better and more beneficial the incentive, the more likely it is that your kid will want to do what they are asked. However, I made sure not to make incentives financial based. Incentives included allowing them to cut down on their chores for the week, getting extra dessert, allowing them to go to bed a little later on weekends, etc.
- Talking to them: this may sound very basic, but it is far more powerful than you can imagine! Communication is the key to getting our expectations across. Sometimes, letting our kids know how much something means to us or how much some things hurt us, actually drives them to do things for us. No matter how mad our kids may get at us, they love us, and as children, want nothing more than to make us happy.
- Making our runs meaningful: I made sure that with every run, we were laughing, giggling or just having a nice time under the sun. I brought along different energy drinks, sandwiches, and snacks for small picnics that I attempted to have after every run.
- Race and let them win: try not to make it too obvious that you are letting them win! You can take a win once in a while, but let your child win and feel the success for the most part. Children love to win, no matter what it is. Let their self-esteem grow, bringing you greater delight!
- Appreciate: I don’t mean incentives and rewards here. Remind them over and over how much they mean to you and how your world would have been incomplete without them. Appreciation is key.