by  Gail Goldspiel

“Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think of what it might be.” Joyce Carol Oates

With marathon training season in full swing, it’s hard not to notice the many runners swiftly pounding their way through the streets recently, day and night. As one who is inspired by and now runs with some of these talented athletes (but is not quite up to entering a full marathon just yet) the educator in me couldn’t help but notice all the young kids who also participate in running festivities. Either kids are standing by cheering their parent on with the rest of the family, getting rolled in a slender, speedy running stroller, or if they’re a little older, even running with their parent or nanny in the race too.


Add Running to Family Time

Getting involved in the running world naturally led me to think about its impact on young children and how running, to them, even if they’re just watching, can actually be about more than running. Determination, perseverance, hard work, grit. For adults, these are life-long skills to hone, but for young kids, if we inspire and embed these skills early, the possibilities are infinite. And as a running friend of mine recently said, “children will mirror most of what you do as a parent so teaching them healthy habits from a young age is always good.” And running doesn’t require much. Just your legs, some good sneakers, and the mindset that you can keep going.

It’s no wonder then that there’s a huge market for picture books on the topic of running. It’s one of the easiest ways to get kids moving, and if they have parents who run, one that they could most likely relate to. To inspire both you (and your kids) to run, here are some stand out picture books and tips to think about:

● Runner’s World compiled an impressive list of picture books

● Some other ideas to think about as pointed out here is that running can encourage goal setting and celebrating accomplishments, however big or small. We can help young kids feel proud and successful if they ran 1 mile or if they ran up a steep hill.

Cleveland Clinic points out that running at an early age can allow greater confidence as well as inspire healthy eating and nutrition. When you exercise and run, you learn to think about the best ways to fuel your body to accomplish the goals you set for it. While also being educational, running should be as fun as possible.


At the end of the day, kids are impressive, motivated, creative, energetic beings in their own right. We can always seek to bring those attributes out in them, but sometimes they do it all on their own, just by being themselves. Running alongside kids of parents in my last race and seeing how seriously they took what they were doing as they sped up and went even faster, I couldn’t help but smile. There was magic in their eyes, and in the eyes of so many around me as we all ran towards the finish line together, reminding ourselves with every sprint – anything is possible.

If you are a nanny who cares for a child athlete, we have a class dedicated to teaching you about child athlete fitness and nutrition. Learn more about our Advanced Nanny certification program.