* TRAIN. If your child doesn't run much, make sure you go out a few times in the weeks leading up the event so they can practice running or walking a sustained amount of time (if doing the Kids Run, 10 minutes is generally a good goal).
* BRING FOOD! Kids Runs often start well after the main event, so have snacks like fresh fruit, half sandwich, pretzels, and water available while you're waiting. Running on an empty stomach is hard for all of us.
* PLAN CLOTHING. Make sure your child understands they need to wear sneakers to run in, this is for their safety. Tie them tightly - you wouldn't believe how many times I've seen shoes fly off mid-run!
* KNOW THE SCHEDULE. Make sure you know your child's run start time. Arrive at the start line a few minutes early to warm up and get acquainted with the course and any instructions.
* HAVE FUN. Most kids runs are not timed or competitive. Emphasize the fun in Fun Run. Come enjoy the Kids Zone or cheer on other runners at the finish line.
* HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN: kids feel nervous about big running events just like adults - it's just more acceptable for them to burst into tears - and a bad day can turn into a bad run. In most cases it just takes some encouragement but sometimes that fear can get in the way of a good time. If it's just not their day, maybe it's best to skip the run and cheer instead.
* CELEBRATE. Encourage your child to wear their medal or ribbon all day or bring it to school. Find a special place to display it in their room. Take photos.