October is international #walktoschool month and yet each morning there are lines of parents in cars waiting to drop off their kids at school.
Kids walk to school every day. Walking to neighborhood schools and stores is normal.
But what is the right distance for a child to be able to walk? We live just a few blocks away from school and to us, it’s normal to walk. We’ve been doing it for years, even before our child started there.
It turns out those few blocks are about 1/2 a mile. That’s a good distance.
And guess what? There are many benefits of walking to school:
– Shake off a rough start to the day
– Gets the blood flowing
– Enhances children’s mental health and mood
– Establishes the habit of daily physical activity (more likely to remain active as an adult)
WALK WITH YOUR KIDS
If you live 1 mile or less, consider walking with your kids in the morning. Orr if they’re old enough, send them out. In less than 20 minutes, your kid can get to school more alert and ready to learn.
Walk: 20 minutes
Bike: 10 minutes
Scooter: 12-15 minutes
So, how old is the right age before they can start going out on their own? We’re not going to lie….we continued going to the bus stop through 4th grade and then stopped the middle of 5th grade. It really wasn’t an issue of trust in our child. She’s a great, responsible kid. It was really because we live near a middle school and High School and many parents drive their kids. The only problem is that sometimes these same parents are a bit…shall we say, TIRED? So they run stop signs or don’t bother looking both ways before going. It’s perilous.
Assuming you live within a mile of a school, and the streets are SAFE, here are our guidelines:
Grades K – 3: With a parent
Grades 4, 5: With a buddy, if under a mile AND mature
Grades 6 & up: Preferably with a buddy, but ok to go alone
Why do we say with a buddy? For two reasons. It makes the time go faster and from a safety perspective, it’s always better to travel in pairs than on your own.
While the weather is cooler, why not try walking with your child to school this week? A 10-20 minute walk to school means a nice, 20-40 minute work out for you (and there’s lots of reasons for parents to stay fit, too).