Encouraging Kids to Walk to School

I remember when I was a kid. My sisters and I always walked to school alone. Even when I was in preschool and my oldest sister was 7. I know there were other daycare kids with us, but I have no idea as to their ages. And in junior high I was riding a bike about 2 miles to school daily.
But now a lot of kids don’t walk to school, with or without their parents. Sometimes it’s because parents don’t feel that it’s safe, or they’re just too rushed. And I think that’s rather a pity.

walking to school

I walk my daughter to school. For us it’s a must, since we only have one car and my husband uses that for work. But even when we had two cars, I walked her to school last year. We’re just too close to bother with driving in my opinions.

I know some of my neighbors differ on that one. To each their own.

There’s a lot to be said for walking your kids to school, or once they’re old enough, having them walk themselves to school. It’s good exercise, and you can avoid making what for many parents is a very short car trip. This is especially true for stay at home parents who aren’t having to worry about getting to work on time.

It’s just a bit of exercise, for one. Not too hard to do if the school is fairly close. Ours is perhaps a quarter mile as I recall. But I’d walk farther if I had to.

It’s also a nice time to talk to your kids. My daughter will talk with me sometimes as we walk to or from school. Not always – last year she had a big thing about keeping her day in preschool secret. But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about other things.

Some neighborhoods have developed what they call a walking bus. A couple of parents go around picking other kids up on the way to walk to school in a big group. This way the kids get to walk, and the parents don’t have to do the walk every day if it’s not convenient. You can take turns.

You can get a lot of ideas from the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Walking to school shouldn’t be so hard for families to get into, and parents shouldn’t have to feel that it’s so dangerous.

If your child’s school is close enough, at least give walking to school a try this year. I find it much less frustrating than dealing with the drop off and/or parking lot crowds at the school.

[tags]back to school,walking to school,kids,children,school,safe routes[/tags]

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3 Responses

  1. Leisa says:

    I think walking when you can in your local community is really important. You interact with the world in a different way, see things you’d never notice from the car and have “real” experiences. It’s part of kids education in so many ways!

  2. milander says:

    How sad… car culture really has destroyed a lot of childhood learning experiences. I don’t even think that many of you teach how to cross a road as the kids just pile into a car. Very sad.

  3. Jenny says:

    I have always walked to school. Except college since it was like an hour away from my house. xD