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Blog Post 16 May 2022

Vivina: why I’m grateful for walking my children to school

Living Street’s Walk to School Week is an annual challenge to encourage pupils to walk to school. Taking part in this challenge helps pupils to build long-term healthy habits, which contribute to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

This year, Walk to School Week is from 16 – 22 May, encouraging children to take part in the growing movement of active travel. We hear from our colleague in the transport team, Vivina, about her part in Walk to School Week.

More than just a task

In October 2021, we moved houses three streets away. Previously it was a 10-minute walk to school and now it’s a 15-minute walk to school from home. For the first couple of days, my son was moaning about the extra walk and how he felt ‘tired’ due to the long walk. My initial thoughts were similar. It’s human tendency to think this way. We are happy when something is made easier for us, and conversely become unhappy if anything needs more effort.

School pick-ups and drop-offs started to seem like a task. Sometimes, I’m delighted when my husband offers to do the school pick-up or drop-off. It feels as if one of your to-do items got ticked off your list without any effort! However, walking to school is so much more than a mere task of picking up and dropping off.

‘There’s something about walking that’s different’

When I reflect on it, I am grateful for walking my children to school. I am glad I did that. It’s been two years since my daughter moved to secondary school. She walks to school by herself. I miss the stories I get to listen to and tell. We’ve had impulsive and candid conversations during our walk to and from school. I was aware of all the little things in her life and now I don’t know about them anymore.

We do have playtime, dinner time, and family time, but there’s something about walking that’s different. It keeps you grounded, helps you to reflect, and results in meaningful and worthwhile conversations with children. Walking quietens the mind, and it makes it easier for children to share their thoughts.

I miss those conversations with my daughter. That’s why we’ve introduced more walks in the family, to experience it all again – meaningful conversations, light and humorous ones, random games and stories on the go, and so on. It’s when you stop walking your child to school that you realise how beneficial walking with them has been.

Ditch the car and walk to school

My son is in primary school and in probably another two or three years, he’ll choose to walk by himself. Until then, I will walk him to school and make the best of it. Sometimes as parents, we count the number of years left in primary school for our children and take pleasure in the thought that there will be no more pick-ups and drop-offs after our children go to secondary school. It’s like children taking delight that they can watch as much television when they become grown-ups or have as much chocolate or ice cream when they become adults!

If you have the opportunity this week – and whenever you can – ditch the car and walk to school. Those extra car trips aren’t a necessity; the longer the walk, the more you will benefit.

Last updated: 13 May 2022