Start School on the RIGHT Foot

July 28, 2016
by Dr. Rebecca Kolesky

Back to school means we get to go back to one of my favorite activities with my kids – walking to school! We are lucky to live close enough to walk to our neighborhood K-3 school and it takes about 8-10 minutes to walk the less than half mile there. My boys often run half of the way and are loud enough to wake up the neighbors, often leaving me trailing behind them. We love converging with other kids & parents as we get closer to school and it is a great way to meet other neighborhood families.

There is plenty of research showing that kids are more active throughout the day after walking or biking to school. They are also best mobile casinos more alert and come to school ready to learn. Walking reduces stress and increases creativity in kids as well. It also gives kids a chance to develop independence, improve decision making skills, and be more social. Plus, it gets kids outside!

I think we all know that walking to school is inherently a good idea – but the reality is that it is often easier to just throw everyone in the car and drive through the carpool line. Here are some tips and ideas that have made it work for us:

Pick a few days a week (or month) that you will always walk and stick with it. We walk to school two days/week on the days that I am not rushing to get to work and they walk home with me or our babysitter every day.

Embrace the weather. Don’t let hot summer days or chilly winter mornings derail you. My kids get to drink hot chocolate on the way to school when it is 32 degrees or lower outside!  Let them wear the rain boots and carry the umbrellas if it is raining and splash a little on the way!

Get the neighbors in on the fun. Try to get other kids who live nearby to walk with you or even create a “walking school bus” with parents taking turns supervising the walk.

Switch it up. Take out the bikes and scooters and roll to school instead (with helmets of course!) We put a balloon on my son’s scooter on his birthday and it was a huge hit!

Participate in your school/Georgia’s walk to school days.   Many of the schools do this monthly and have themes such as Safety, Autumn leaves, etc. and even sometimes have competitions between schools to see who has the most walkers.

I would love to hear your tips for motivating your kids to walk! Give it a go and we’ll see you around the neighborhood!

Click Here for info on the Safe Routes to School program in Decatur


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