Getting There: Walking to School

Have kids in school? Walking benefits everyone, especially growing kids. If your family lives close enough, it might be worth a try. Walking to school improves children’s health and helps combat a host of health problems that are facing kids today, including childhood obesity. When you replace car trips to school with walking or bicycling, you also help reduce air pollution and build community.

Here are some tips for how to help kids start walking to school:

  • Safety is the most important issue when kids walk to school so it’s important to find the safest route. Check for things like heavy traffic, safe sidewalks and paths, streets to cross and neighborhood safety. You can use a Walkability Checklist to help determine the safest route possible.
  • Walk with your kids as often as possible, especially when first starting out.
  • If your child is old enough, biking is also an alternative that can be fun and efficient. The same safety concerns apply and a safe route will need to be planned.
  • Try starting a Walking School Bus. Much like a carpool without the car, a group of neighborhood children walk together to school, picking each child up along the way. Adult supervision is necessary so communicate with other parents. Families involved will need to figure out convenient meeting places, come up with safe a route, agree on a time table, make a schedule and find volunteers to create a walking school bus.

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