“Kids! Kiiiiids! Come downstairs and bring down the board games! It’s Family Game Night.”
The children dutifully drag themselves down the stairs, the board game gets spread out on the coffee table, microwave popcorn is eaten and Dad’s asleep on the couch by 8:30.
Hey, it’s 2013. This means that not only do we get to video chat with people around the world, like the Jetsons, but we also don’t have to have the same old “Family Night” our parents instilled.
Might I suggest — with fanfare — the Family Fun Run? Instead of playing that tired board game and imploring your children to stop texting their friends, how about lacing up sneakers and hitting the road for a family run? It’s a fresh, fun and healthy way to bond with the family.
Getting some high-quality family time in while doing something good for your health and having fun? A moment of silence, please: We’ve reached the trifecta.
Family Fun Run Tips:
New shoes: Order brand new running shoes for everyone to build the excitement. Gather around the laptop or head to your local shoe store and let the kids pick their own styles. Maybe even let them weigh in on what Mom and Dad should order. Neon shoes for dad? Uh, YES!
Baby steps: Pick an easy trail to start, and stick with a slow pace for the first couple of runs. If Mom and older-brother Sam are faster than Dad and younger-sister Katie, split off into teams and run at the same pace.
Gear up with gadgets: Keep track of your progress. Invest in some pedometers or even a fancier gadget like a Fitbit. It tracks mileage, steps and calories burned. It even syncs with apps like MyFitnessPal to help you stay in the know on your fitness. Some sneakers are equipped with super-smart chips that let you know how far you’ve run.
Chart progress: Come up with goals based on everyone’s level of fitness. Write them down and make a chart. Maybe Mom and Dad want to lose some weight. Maybe the kids want to beat an eight-minute mile. Maybe everyone wants to hit a goal of 10,000 steps per day.
Celebrate success: Reward accordingly. Each time someone hits a goal, celebrate! Prizes can be anything from ordering a new backpack to picking out that night’s movie.
Go from couch to 5K: Sign up for a 5K or a kids’ fun run. Pick one, put it on the calendar and commit as a family to train for one. 5Ks aren’t just 5Ks anymore. Find one with a fun theme.
The Color Me Rad 5K has a team of people who throw colored powder on all of the runners at different stations throughout the race.
Run For Your Lives is an obstacle course race with zombies!
Run Like a Mother is a Mother’s Day 5K. (Definitely not the same old brunch-and-carnation festivities!)
Let the kids pick which race to run and register as a team. Get matching T-shirts and celebrate after everyone passes the finish line.
“Hungry Hungry Hippos” is cool and all, but it definitely pales in comparison to a fun family run. The new family night comes with sweat, endorphins and zero white marbles.