Tips for walking to school

Teach children the value of physical activity by walking to school everyday

Walk to School

Children learn all sorts of things at school, from maths and English to history and science.

But another great lesson you can incorporate into their school day is how easy and fun it is to walk to school.

According to Living Streets Scotland, children who do some form of exercise, especially a walk before school, do better in class because they arrive refreshed, fit and ready to learn.

And, with busy roads and limited parking around schools, walking to school is often quicker and less stressful than driving.

So, here's a few tips on how to help make walking to school a more regular occurrence.

Get practical help and ideas from Sign up to Living Streets Scotland

Our partners, Living Streets Scotland, want every child who can to walk to school.

They have a range of resources, tools and challenges for parents and schools, all with the aim of getting children to walk to school more often.

One is WOW - the year-round walk to school challenge. Pupils record how they travel to school and those who walk at least once per week for a month are rewarded with badges.

Walk together

Walking with friends is a great way to get children excited about walking to school. Seeing friends or being part of a walking bus is social, safe and fun.

Get together with neighbours and agree who is supervising the walk to school once a week. Children can chat to their friends while enjoying fresh air and exercise before the school day starts.

Check for weather updates

On a cold or wet day, children may stage a protest about walking to school. Equipping them with the right clothing and footwear, such as a warm coat, waterproof jacket or wellies, will help them stay dry and warm.
Get a weather app on your phone so you're prepared to walk whatever the weather is going to throw at you.
As an extra precaution, why not pack dry socks or gym shoes in their schol bag just in case.

Keep it interesting

As with everything, avoiding boredom is key to success when it comes to children.
This may mean varying your route from time to time. If there's more than one way to get to school, why not let your child pick the route? You could also challenge them to guess how long they think the rouote will take or, if you have a Fitbit or activity tracker, ask them to guess how many steps they are going to take before reaching the school gates.
Make sure you also enjoy your natural environment and all the other things you miss when you're in the car such as spotting wildlife or listening to bird singing.

Chris Thompson, school and projects co-ordinator at Living Streets Scotland said: “Walking to school is easy, cheap and requires no special equipment or set up, apart from shoes and a coat on a chilly day.

“Children get to learn important life skills, road safety and independence, as well as contributing to physical and mental wellbeing.

“For parents, walking to school with their children gives them a great chance to catch up about what’s happening that day and share some quality time together."

For more information on walking to school, visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/scotland.