Walk and Roll to School

Back-to-school means kids are back inside classrooms for most of the day, with fewer opportunities to play outside. Why not bookend the school day by getting there (and back again) in kid-powered ways: biking, scootering, or walking.

Walking and Talking

Not only does starting the day with physical activity boost energy levels, but it allows us to spend time having real conversations with our kids, with fewer distractions. On the way to school I'll hear about the excitement over an upcoming art project or nervousness over a quiz. And on the way home, reflections on the day come out more naturally--I don't have to kick off the conversation with, "How was school today?" And when we have time for a slow-paced walk, we can literally stop and smell the flowers.

Two Wheels Are Better Than Four

Biking or scootering to school feels fast and free. Plus, riders can hop off to explore things they find along the way. Our family found that the uphill segment of our commute requires walking (plus occasional whining). But we get there!

During the summer months, I reinforced these bike and scooter safety lessons with my kids so we’re ready to roll to school together:

  • ALWAYS wearing a helmet.
  • Stick to paved paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks.
  • Wait for cars to pass at intersections, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing
  • Go at a safe speed and follow traffic safety rules.
  • Be respectful of pedestrians sharing the sidewalk. I ask my kids to say “Good morning,” and “Excuse me” as well as dismount when they see people ahead.

I know that my kids have the skills to ride, but they still need to work on bike safety. It may take a few more years of practice before I let them bike to school alone. Here are safety tips for biking around town: Top bike safety tips from Safe Kids Worldwide.

Our goal this year is to walk more frequently than we drive. Bonus points if we run, skip, or cartwheel!

By Heather Flett and Whitney Moss, creators of 510Families.com.