I must admit, I've never had a problem getting the kids to walk anywhere, even on long treks. In fact, they enjoy it and often ask if we can walk into town rather than taking a bus. I think the trick is to get them used to it from an early age so that they have the automatic reflex of walking rather than taking the car or bus (I don't drive so we've always done it) and to make long walks into an adventure - pick and play with granny-pop-out-of-the-beds and dandelion clocks, look out for spiders' webs and ladybirds, make up stories about the people you see on the way, stop off for a few minutes at each playground you pass, race the bus (see if you can get to the next bus stop before a bus passes you) ... It makes the walk into a fun activity rather than a chore.
Top Tips For Encouraging Children To Walk To School From Hi-Tec
After a summer of British sporting success, leading outdoor retailer Hi-Tec is encouraging families to adopt an active lifestyle in the autumn and walk, rather than drive, to school.
The British walking boots specialist has compiled five top tips for parents to use to get children enthused about walking, including playing games on the journey and ensuring that they have the correct footwear for walking.
Helen Durant, UK Marketing Manager at Hi-Tec, says: "Walking to school with your kids in the morning allows for some quality time together in the fresh air, as well as contributing to your weekly exercise quota and reducing your impact on the environment.
"After Great Britain's medal successes this summer, there's no better time to teach your children about the benefits of being active!"
Hi-Tec's Top Tips To Encourage Kids To Walk To School
1. New shoes!
It's important that children are wearing durable and supportive shoes when walking to school. You needn't spend a fortune to get a pair, but it's important that the shoes fit properly. Letting your child choose their own shoes ought to give them an extra incentive to put them on too!
Hi-Tec has some great kids' walking shoes like the TT EZ Sport Junior, in all-black for boys and with pink detailing for girls.
2. Be weather-ready
Not having proper outdoor gear will mean that you're more likely to fall back into the habit of dropping the kids off by car. A waterproof coat, umbrella and spacious bag to keep all your kit in, should give you an incentive to keep walking. Conversely, sunglasses, a change of summer clothes and optional ice lollies will really help on sunny days too!
3. Healthy incentives
If your walking to school motives are part of a 'health kick' for your family, why not reward little ones with some extra-curricular exercise? You could treat them to a trip to the park or the local swimming pool, if they walk at least one way for a whole week.
4. Walk with them (or not)
For younger children, setting a good example is a great way to encourage them to pick up a healthy habit. Making the journey with them can make the experience less daunting, especially if they are starting a new school this term. On the other hand, if you have teens, your presence may be cramping their style. Letting them walk to school with friends gives them a sense of independence, just make sure that you know their route and that they're contactable.
5. Make a game of it
Spending the journey playing I-spy or counting how many red, blue or yellow cars you can spot will make it seem much shorter for little legs. Change4Life has compiled some great games, downloadable here, but for extra fun, why not create your own with your child?
Primary school-age children need to undertake an hour of physical activity every day and, with the average school being around a 20 minute walk away, the journey to and from school could make up a significant amount of the exercise they need.
Research by the charity Living Streets shows that one person walking, instead of making five car journeys fewer than 2km a week could save 86 kg of carbon a year. The charity also note that, because of traffic congestion, making a short journey to school on foot could actually be quicker than traveling by car. Parents who make the journey with their children benefit from the impact on their health as well as getting to spend extra quality time with their child.
For more information on Hi-Tec and walking inspiration, visit www.hi-tec.com/uk/.
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