Adventuring with the jog stroller is one of our favorite things to do as a family. It’s never too early to introduce the wonderful experience of exploring the world on foot to your young ones. Plus, strapping your kids into a jog stroller means that you get a break from physically wrangling them as long as you’re on the move. Whether you’re strolling, speed walking, running, journeying solo, walking with a friend, or in a group, enjoy yourself!
I have used my jog stroller nearly every day for the past 2 1/2 years. Needless to say, I have learned a lot along the way. So, I share with you, my tips for a more enjoyable baby jogging experience.
Tips For A Better Baby Jogging Experience
- Gear up: I imagine the world would be a better place if all moms on earth had a solid jog stroller. I’m telling you, there isn’t much that 30 minutes with the jogger can’t fix – toddler tantrums, fussy babies, mom on the brink of madness. There are many joggers to choose from, so explore them all and pick the one that best suits your needs. I cannot say enough wonderful things about both my single and double BOB Gear joggers, but know that there are other great products out there. I highly recommend getting a jogger with a front wheel that can both swivel and lock.
- Supplies: When thinking through supplies, I put myself in my kids’ shoes. What would I want if I were strapped in a seat for 60 minutes? The answer varies based on time of day, age of kid, kid’s interests, weather, etc. Most often my supplies include: wipes and diapers, and a water bottle, snack, and item of choice for each kid. Expecting my kids to share anything in the jogger is unrealistic, so I bring two of everything.
- The cozy factor: I want my kids to enjoy the jog stroller experience, and making sure they’re comfortable to begin with is key. Comfortable, weather appropriate clothing is a must, as is a fresh diaper. In the warmer months, I go with minimal clothes and lots of sunscreen on exposed skin. The bitter cold winter months here in So Cal require a cozy blanket to keep their feet and hands warm.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself: Pushing a jog stroller (single or double) is no small deal. Whether you’re walking or running, set a goal for yourself. Each time I head out, I establish either a distance or duration goal, but usually not both. I cut myself some slack when it comes to pace while pushing the jogger, especially the big ole double. Unless you’re training for a race, I encourage you to do the same. Hauling yourself and your kids up steep hills is a challenge – which is either an added bonus for your booty or a total headache if you’re not aiming to work up too much of a sweat. So, choose your route carefully.
- Set realistic expectations for your kids: While cruising in a jog stroller sounds wonderfully relaxing, your kid may see it differently. After all, they are strapped in a seat for an extended period of time. When establishing a goal for your workout, keep in mind both your own physical capabilities as well as that of your kids. I generally don’t keep the girls strapped in for more than 60 minutes at a time, which seems to be their limit. If I’m interested in a longer adventure, I plan play stops along the way so the girls can stretch their legs.
- Engage your passengers: Cruising in the jog stroller provides great opportunities to engage your kid(s) in conversation. When we are out in the jogger, the girls and I chat it up – historically, I have been the one to spark up conversation, but now that Reece is 2 1/2, we’re sharing in the responsibility. You know your little one(s) best and know what will get them excited. Our hot topics include: busses, dogs, cars, flags, birds, waves, trees, and familiar landmarks. There is a house along our regular route with three owls (fake) on the roof. Reece and Isaac named them and we always stop to say “hi” and “bye” when we pass. Little routines like that give kids something to look forward to and anticipate. Can you spot Bill, Bob, and Ben (the owls) below? Reece and Vera can!
- Protect your valuables: Many a toy, doll, book, blankie have been tossed over-BOB. More often than not, I don’t notice until I hear a kid screaming, “Uh oh, blankie/doggie/snacks/[insert cherished item]”. So, bring whatever keeps the kids happy, but do so at your own risk.
- Create win/win experiences: The jog stroller allows for all sorts of fitness challenges for the mama and fun for the kids. Whatever your adventure and activity, make it a win for you and a win for them. A few ideas:
- Park Tour – choose a route that has a few parks or play areas along the way. Run or walk from park to park and let the kids out to play at each stop. While they play, challenge yourself by doing some strength, toning, or stretching moves. I like to use my Nike Training Club app for 15 minute targeted exercises.
- Stair Hunt – have your kids help you look for staircases along your run/walk. When you find them, act like its the coolest thing ever, park your jogger at the bottom and run up and down several times. Make sure your kids can see you and know that you’re not leaving them. Reece likes to yell, “faster mama faster!” as I bust my butt running up and down.
- Don’t delay! Get them locked and loaded: Rallying kids to do anything can be a challenge, and getting them loaded in a jog stroller is no exception. Amen? I have the most success when I act with speed and confidence. Try it. Ready yourself, load your jog stroller with your supplies, and quickly load those kiddos. While it may be an ordeal (i.e. physical battle) to load the crew, keep your eye on the prize and stay strong. It is worth it.
- Have some perspective: Kids cry. Kids throw tantrums. Kids go nuts. Kids are not always happy. As a result, it is likely that your kid will cry/throw a tantrum/go nuts/be unhappy at some point in the jog stroller. Decide in advance how you are going to deal with it when this happens. Im not trying to offer parenting advice, but instead reminding you that it will happen and assuring you that when it does, it’s not the end of the world. As with all else, do what you’re comfortable with. I tend to take this approach: as long as they are safe, and their physical needs are met, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to have a good attitude along the way. When my kids start to lose it I tell them, “this is what we are doing right now. So, you might as well enjoy it.” Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. Such is life.
If you haven’t ventured out with a jog stroller, perhaps go for a 30 minute test run/walk. If you’re looking for some direction and camaraderie, check out Stroller Strides. Stroller Strides is a organized fitness class designed for moms with strollers (and babies). It’s a great way to get into a groove post baby, mix up your fitness routine, and meet new friends.