I knew that I wanted to walk with my kids – kindergarten and second grade – to school this year. We live 0.9 miles from school, and while I should probably bemoan that it is uphill both ways, it is mostly flat and we only cross one busy street. However, it is definitely magical.
This summer we decided to do a “practice walk” to see how long it would take us to get to school. When I asked the almost-kindergartner how long she thought the walk was, she said, “100 hours.” It was actually 22 minutes. This didn’t bode well. I was afraid that she was going to whine and ask for breaks and piggy back rides the whole time. But then the first day of school came and the excitement carried her little body all the way there without complaint.
Since then, the morning walks have become so routine that there’s virtually no complaining. That’s not to say that our walks are boring and mechanical. Here are a few of the things that make these walks simply magical.
Sticks. Sticks in the hands of children can be many, many things. Ours have been walking sticks, twirling batons, canes, horses, and magic wands.
Puffball dandelions. My apologies to anyone on our route who had one or two puffball dandelions in your yard, because we’ve made 1,000 wishes and next spring you’re likely to have 1,000 more.
Dogs. We’ve met several friendly dogs and look out for them each morning. Peanut, Ginger, and a hulking spotted Great Dane appropriately named Boomer.
Games. Finding all of the different trucks, picking shapes out of clouds in the sky, and throwing acorns as far as we can pass the time nicely.
Facts. My younger child isn’t too swayed by persuasive reasons for being outside just yet, but the second grader soaks up all of the facts I can throw at him. If you’re looking for reasons to get outside and walk to school each morning, here are some reasons from Fraser Health that walking to school is beneficial for children.
- Good for bones and heart
- Improved performance in school
- Better sleep
- Less anxiety and depression
- Avoid the car line
- Increased sense of belonging in the community
- Reduce vehicle emissions
[Side note: with the exception of “improved performance in school,” I’d argue that all of the above apply to adults who walk with kiddos to school too, even though they weren’t specifically studied by Fraser Health.]
Perhaps the best reason of all for walking to school is the quality time we spend together. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, I’d highly recommend trying to add walking to and/or from school into your week. It doesn’t have to be every day, but you might fall enchanted with the magic of walking together too.
After you drop off the kids at school, try some of these Pilates Park Bench Stretches to ease your muscles after your walk.
Awesome blog post!! I walked to school too, but never with a parent…lucky kiddos!
I know they’ll grow out of wanting me with them at some point, but I’m taking it for now!
Love all the reasons you have posted for doing this. The priceless conversations you have with your children are a gift.
It truly is the best part of my day!