The daily ‘school run’ has sadly been dominated by the car in recent years, with the old fashioned groups of kids all walking together nearly disappearing from our morning streets altogether. Luckily, with the help of health campaigns and England’s beloved lollipop ladies, walking to school is regaining its popularity, despite concerns regarding safety with busy roads. An easy way to integrate exercise into children’s daily routines, walking to school encourages children to stay active and gives a healthy dose of fresh air to boost their braincells before a day’s studying.
One common excuse for reaching for the car keys rather than the walking shoes is that the weather’s too bad to walk to school. This sets a bad example to children who are raised to believe that the outside is only to be enjoyed in sunny weather, which, let’s be honest, equates to about three days a year in the UK, wasting the rest of the year.
With sensible clothing, walking to school in any weather shouldn’t be a problem. Endorsed by the ultimate super nanny Mary Poppins, an umbrella might seem like the best defence against the rain and snow but it ties up a hand for holding it – not ideal when there are children’s hands that need holding and lunch boxes etc. to carry. A sensible waterproof is better, especially for particularly active children who are likely to run in and out from under an umbrella and would end up soaked anyway! Finding a waterproof with sealed seams and an integral hood means they will be prepared for any weather. A traditional anorak style that can be worn with a fleece underneath in cooler weather or without one when it’s warmer offers choice all year round.
Another good idea in winter or periods of very wet weather is to arrange with the school if it’s OK for a pair of school shoes to be left in the classroom so it’s easier to just pop wellies on in the morning if the weather for the day looks bad. This tactic is particularly valuable in snow, as clunky snowboots aren’t suitable for the classroom, but are essential when the ground’s slippery and treacherous.
The best thing about encouraging walking rather than driving to school is that the more popular it becomes the safer it is as well. As more people walk fewer cars will be out and about and drivers will have to be more aware of pedestrians, especially kids.