It’s sweet to use your feet
We live in the age of convenience where the fastest way to do something is the option we usually turn to – often without thinking of the possible repercussions of that decision. That includes loading the kids into the car and driving them to school every day.
In the U.K., there is a new movement on the rise to get people to think twice about starting the car. They’ve started a walking revolution instead. Walk to School Week is celebrated May 16 – 20, and it’s designed to encourage parents and students to give up driving and get moving to promote happiness and well-being. Over a million students and their families are expected to join in1 – and you can too, no matter where in the world you live!
Why lace up and walk to school? According to Sustrans2 walking:
- Makes kids feel calmer and happier, and improves concentration once they get to school
- Promotes independence and freedom
- Allows children to connect with friends
- Gives older children a chance to have some quiet, alone time to think and process what’s going on in their lives
- Boosts mood and self esteem
- Creates healthy habits they can carry into adulthood
Because there’s strength in numbers, consider speaking to your child’s school about Walk to School week and find out if it’s something they will promote within your school community. Parents who are unable to walk younger children to school due to work conflicts can arrange for friends to step in so their child isn’t left out.
Review rules of the road with your children, especially if they are old enough to walk to school on their own, but aren’t used to doing so. Remind your kids to:
- Always stop and look both ways before stepping out onto the street
- Make eye contact with drivers when you’re stopped at a crossing to make sure they see you and know you are about to cross
- Take care when walking past driveways and hidden entrances, especially in the morning when people may be rushing off to work and backing out without looking closely
- Always cross at pedestrian crosswalks and intersections, and never walk out from in between parked cars
Walking is the easiest form of exercise, and one of the most pleasant. Starting and ending the school day with a walk is a wonderful way for children to prepare for a day of classes, and to wind down after they’re done. And, of course, it’s the perfect way for them to get some of the 60-minutes minimum3 of exercise they need every day.
Visit the Walk to School website for resources, special challenges and suggestions for ways to encourage children to participate.
413718G CAN/US (05/16)