I have to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever walked my children to school.
We’ve walked home from school a handful of times. And when Nerys was just doing half days at school I would walk her home fairly regularly when the weather was nice.
But for the most part now, with both children in full time school, we drive to and from school.
We live 1.2 miles away according to google maps, and it takes us about half an hour to walk there. So realistically we could do it if we really wanted to.
There are quite a few good reasons to consider walking to school rather than driving, and here are my top five:
1. No worries about traffic or parking
I can’t be the only one who finds the drive to and from school quite stressful at times.
The traffic can be crazy some days, and it feels like we spend the whole journey stop/starting with traffic and various sets of lights on the route.
As for the parking, well I just avoid our school’s car park altogether.
It is absolute bedlam, with people blocking other parents in all over the place. So I go for a spot on the side of the road, a little bit further away from the school. And even then, some days, it can be a fight to not end up miles away.
So walking to school instead would be quite nice when it means avoiding all that stress every day.
2. It teaches great life skills
Walking to school for us involves crossing several pretty busy roads. So it would be a great way to reinforce road safety ideas with the children.
A report from the AA found that children starting secondary school were less likely to be involved in accidents on the road when they’d had past experience of walking to school.
So practising walking to school when they’re younger can be great for gearing them up to do it on their own, safely, when they’re older.
It also lets the children learn some basic navigation skills that they just don’t really pick up sitting in the back of the car. Letting them take the lead in saying which way to go and telling you when they think it’s safe to cross roads can really help build their confidence.
3. You’ll save money
Think of the money you could save on petrol (and wear and tear on the car) if you walked to school every day instead of driving.
A quick google tells me that the average family could save a couple of hundred pounds a year, which is quite impressive.
4. Walking to school helps children learn
Regular exercise is known to have a load of amazing benefits. It lowers stress levels and is great for our mental health all round.
It also helps to improve our children’s capacity to learn.
Walking to school can help boost their memories and improve their problem solving skills and their ability to pay attention. Various studies have found that children who walk to school show better cognitive performance, better reading fluency and improved executive functioning.
All very good reasons to skip the car and start walking to school more.
5. You get extra social time together
As much as I try and chat with my children on the drive to and from school I’m aware that, obviously, I’m not giving them my full attention.
When you walk to school together though you can focus on them so much more. And with the walk taking a bit longer than the drive would, you have more time together to chat and enjoy each other’s company.
When I used to walk Nerys home from school when she did half days it would take us quite a while, but I loved it. I knew that before long she would be in school full time and that stage of our lives would be over, so I relished those walks home when we could just be together.
Writing this has made me so much more tempted to ditch the car and walk with the children to and from school.
I think I’ve just got so used to taking the car, it’s become a habit and has started to feel like the only way to do things. Really though with the children the ages they are now we could easily enough walk at least once or twice a week.
I’d just have to get a bit more organised so we could leave early enough to get there on time.
Do you walk your children to school? If you don’t, what is the biggest issue that’s stopping you?