Get Walking For International Walk To School Month.
October is International Walk To School Month and all over the world communities are being encouraged to make it easier for children to walk to school.
Walking to school is a great choice for all sorts of reasons. It’s a simple way of having more exercise and outdoor time, without having to fit another outing, club or activity into busy weeks. Research has shown that getting our bodies moving gets our brains moving too – so children who have walked to school are likely to feel more ready to learn and less sleepy than those who have travelled by car.
And it can be a great opportunity for connection: whether that’s talking through feelings with your child, catching up with friends or meeting other local children from different classes.
According to Living Streets, a UK charity aiming to make walking the first choice for local journeys, a generation ago 70% of children walked to school. And now fewer than half do.
When time is short, weather is bad or roads are busy, walking doesn’t always feel like the easy choice. But with some simple changes, it’s possible for most of us to walk to school, at least for some of the distance, some of the time. If you are looking to cut down on car-time, increase time with your children and up your weekly outdoor quota in one fell swoop – here are some tips for making it possible:
Try it once a week
If the mornings feel chaotic, start by designating one day for walking. Make sure everyone knows, so bags are packed and clothes laid out the night before to save you time. You could make ‘walking day’ into a special event, maybe by having a different (favourite) breakfast on that day, or packing snacks for the walk.
Walk part of the way
If you live a long way from school and making the whole journey under your own steam is simply not possible, aim to ‘park and stride’. By parking 10-15 minutes walk away from the school gates you’ll still get valuable outdoor time together, and you’ll have the advantage of not being caught up in the parking frenzy that can happen near the school gates.
This approach means you can fit in a school walk even if you need to drive to work straight after drop-off, and gives you some brain-clearing fresh air before your day too!
Walk with others
Teaming up with others is a great way to make the walk to school more manageable. Children often enjoy running ahead with their friends, spurring each other on. For parents it can also be a way of sharing the commuting burden – teaming up with another parent and taking both sets of children some of the time can make a walking commute easier to fit in with work and other commitments.
Campaign for safety
If you have some hot spots on your walk that mean you’re not comfortable getting your children to school on foot, see what can be changed. Pedestrians have a right to be on the street just as much as cars do.
Raising the issue at school and seeing how many others are affected can be a good way to get started. Parents’ Associations may be able to get behind a campaign with funding and bringing the issue to the attention of local councillors.
For more information and resources to help you with planning the walk to school, download the free resource pack from Living Streets.
At Kozi Kidz we like to see children having fun outside as much as possible – it’s not just about a weekend trip to the woods or for holidays. So we’d love to see more people try walking to school. There’s a 25% discount on all our accessories throughout October to help you get going! Use code IWM at checkout.