Walking is a great way to get to school – it’s healthy, free and doesn’t create pollution. It also reduces traffic congestion during the ‘school run’.
The Green Cross Code is taught in schools but needs to be reinforced from home – and not just by memorising the words, but by parents practicing and explaining the code to their children. Do you know it? Do you follow it? The code is for everyone.
Younger children need to be accompanied by an adult, especially if there are busy roads. If you can’t walk your child to school they might be able to join a ‘walking bus’. This is when a group of children walk to school with at least two adults. Even if you can walk your child to school, a walking bus enables you to share the responsibility with other parents and frees up a bit of extra time.
If you would like to see a walking bus in your area, talk to other parents and staff at your children’s school to see if you could set one up together.
Walking to school also gives older children independence. Once they know their route and can cross roads safely, they can walk by themselves or with friends.
Travel tips for secondary pupils
- Practise your child’s journey with them before they start secondary school
- Choose busy times, not in the middle of the day
- Make sure your child is aware of potential danger points – looking carefully before crossing busy roads, taking extra care at bus stops and getting on and off trains
- Make sure your child keeps their possessions safe, eg mobile phones, keys and money
- Talk with your child about what they would do if something unexpected happened, e.g. if there was a security alert on their train and passengers were asked to leave the train
- Talk with your child about what they should do if they felt threatened, eg if they felt an adult was following them or behaving oddly on public transport
- Walking to school can increase the concentration of children by up to four hours
- There is a positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance
- Good habits learned young are learned well. Teaching your child to walk safely to school will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life
- If your child joins a walking bus, or is old enough to walk to school with friends, they will have extra time in the day to build friendships, and feel comfortable around other people. And most teenagers, like all of us, need time to themselves – walking home can be a great time to think, relax, and mull over their day.