We use imparfait when its a long action or repetitive We use passe composé in oral speech and passe simple in written more formal speech when its a sudden action Here the children ran for quite a long time or at least it is not sudden Ex Il y a deux ans je faisais de la piscine Repetitive Il faisait que parler Not sudden or regular or repetitive just long (without context probably a one time action although it could be generality about a person) Les enfants commencèrent(passé simple)ont commencé (passé composé)à manger More a sudden action and definitely not regular Il prit(passé simple)a pris(passé composé)un pistolet Sudden,not repetitive just on the moment Hope i helped you
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