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How to keep a toddler busy in a jogging stroller!
I have been taking my daughter out in the jogging stroller since she was 2 weeks old. The first few months, she slept all the time, and it didn’t take much to occupy her as long as she went into the stroller with a full tummy. (PRO-TIP: Nurse BEFORE you go run! Everyone will be more comfortable!)
When she was about 6 months old, she started needing more stimulation, so I got some toy Secure Straps and attached things like an Oball toy and link toys. The toy straps are important for so many reasons, but especially for when babies are little and don’t have a good grasp on things. Nothing kills a workout like having to stop 5 times in 5 minutes to pick up toys that fell out of the stroller. I’ve actually had people chase me down to bring me things we lost! (Thank you, kind strangers!)
Now that my daughter is almost two, we have had to become pretty creative with keeping her entertained when I’m out for a run longer than 3 miles.
I run with a Schwinn Interval Jogger, and I’m very impressed with the storage space on it. There are two water bottle spaces on the handle (note that a full sized bottle will not stay very stable when running) that I use to hold things that I may need to pass off to my daughter during a run (think, snacks, small toys, etc).
LO loves books, so usually I will give her a sturdy board book she hasn’t seen in a while at the beginning of a run, along with a straw cup of water. She will look at the book for a while, but when she starts getting fussy, thats when I start handing out snacks.
Raisins are a favorite, and she is pretty good about using the raisin box to eat from. We have also tried a snack baggie of Cheerios (a little messy when she isn’t focused on eating) and PB sandwich crackers (handed to her one at a time). The Interval Jogger comes with a tray for the child, so she will usually put her snack on the tray when she is done with it.
After the novelty of the snack has worn off, I will hand her something else, like a MagnaDoodle toy, or a stuffed animal she hasn’t seen in a while. (Does anyone else rotate toys? It’s seriously the best way to keep the clutter at bay and make toys seem more interesting.)
We always play “Puppy Watch” and try to count all the different kinds of dogs we see on a run. Lately, we are also interested in noticing all the birds, trees, flowers, and rocks we see as well!
When I know a run is going to be long, I will resort to the iPad with a few episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She only gets to watch movies on the iPad during stroller runs, and not every run, so it is a special treat when it happens. I set up the Guided Access setting when she is watching it, so she can’t exit the screen or do anything with the touch screen itself. We got her these headphones to prepare for some flights coming up soon, so I will sometimes have her wear these to help her stay focused on what she is watching (and to keep the show from messing up my groove too much!)
I have a bag I keep ready to go for these runs with a diaper, some wipes, sunscreen, a hat for her, and a book, just in case I’m in a rush and forget to grab everything mentioned above.
Stroller running with a toddler is a whole new ball game, and as long as you are prepared, you can make it an enjoyable experience for both of you (or, all of you if you are running with more than one!)