The last few days of the summer break are upon us, and it won’t be long before the school bells ring. Help your kids kick off a healthy school year by encouraging them to use active transportation to get to and from school – cycling, on scooters, skateboards, roller blading, or WALKING!
With only 7% of Canadian kids and teens getting the daily physical activity they need, every step counts. A 15-minute walk to and from school each day adds up to an extra 2.5 hours of physical activity each week and can count towards the hour of heart-pumping activity kids need each and every day.
- Before the school year starts, walk or bike the route to school with your kids so that they get used to it. Be an active role model for your kids!
- Review safety concerns with your kids — such as taking only the route you’ve agreed to, calling if there’s a change in plans, crossing the street safely, avoiding stray dogs, etc.
- Encourage your kids to walk with friends – or perhaps pick up or meet friends along their route.
- Give kids the tools they need to enjoy their active commutes: a sturdy backpack, a water bottle, a pedometer, etc.
- Remind older children that they should not walk and talk or text and that music shouldn’t be so loud that they can’t hear what’s going on around them.
- Sun protection. Make it a year-round consideration for all exposed skin.
- Talk positively. Walking to school isn’t a punishment, it’s an opportunity for healthy exercise, increased self-confidence, independence, fun with friends, and to de-stress at the end of the school day. Help kids see the positive side of powering themselves to school!
- For kids who want to turn their walks to and from school into more challenging workouts, we recommend adding poles. Whip on a backpack, grab some poles, and arrive at school having had a heart-pumping workout – not to mention looking athletic and strong.
Take steps to help your kids (and yourself) make this the most active school year yet!