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Walking To School Is In

Walking To School Is In

Schools across the country are finding clever ways to do their part in promoting good health and reducing pollution. A recent article in USA Today describes how some schools are encouraging children to walk or ride bikes to school rather than getting a ride from parents.

For some students, however, walking is not an option since they live too far from their schools. These children are encouraged to form car pools and walk for at least part of the way. Schools are beginning to realize that students can receive great health benefits from walking or biking as well as reduce traffic around schools and auto emissions.

One 8-year-old student enjoys the incentives her Boulder, Colorado school offers. Megan says, “You get treats too ? usually some kind of food.” And she adds, “Since I like animals, I want to save the environment.” The prizes being offered go beyond treats too. Some schools offer digital cameras, bike bells, and bottles of water. The national Safe Routes to School program (administered by the Federal Highway Administration) has funded 40 states to promote walking and biking to school.

Though many parents were apprehensive about the safety of their children walking to school, it was not long until they began recognizing all of the benefits. Katy Jones, manager of the Safe Routes to School program in North Carolina, says children have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting hit by a car.

Walking provides exercise and the opportunity to socialize before school. Walking can also reduce a child’s risk of developing obesity or diabetes later in life. It is also believed that exercise in the morning can make a child more responsive in class.

What do you think of school’s offering incentives to students who walk or ride bikes to school?

Would you allow your child to walk or ride a bike to school where you live?

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  • cole19 By cole19

    Both of my girls have walked from day one. We live 3 blocks from their elementary school. I do know some parents that would pick up and take their kids to school even though they live as close as we do. Since I work my girls never had the option of not walking. Our school district will not pick up anyone living 2 miles or less from their home school at the elementary level and 3 miles or less from the high school. I don't know that I agree with the incentives, it seems like we have to reward people anymore to get them to do the right thing. The high school that I teach at has a parking problem in the student lot. We often have 3 different cars from one family at the school as everyone thinks that they have to drive to school and can't carpool or ride with a family member. I have even seen students who park farther away then they live, just to be able to say that they drove to school.

  • flamom By flamom

    I volunteer with our elementary school's PTA and I an in charge of the annual Walk Your Child To School Day to promote walking. I didn't want it to be a once a year activity so I came up with Walking Wednesdays (walk to school every Wed.) and Fitness Fridays (walk or ride your bike to school). I randomly give out incentives such as chilled flavored water, granola bars, tattoos. reusable Walking is Cool bottles, activity booklets, lollipops. On Walk Your Child To School Day I invited Planet Smoothie to come and serve free samples, plus gave away granola bars and safety items. Sure my kids can walk or bike ride the mile to school, but I go with them. That means I get get 4 miles of biking or walking!

  • JEM4612 By JEM4612

    I think this is a great idea! There are so many parents dropping off kids in our elementary school that every year they have to reinforce safety rules and basic courtesy rules so that no child gets hit by a car. Some of these kids live blocks from the school. Unfortunately my sitter lives too far away from the school for my 10yr to walk there, but he has asked in the past. I like the idea not only for the exercise, but because it gives the child some responsibility. As a mother of 3 (2 teenages & 1 pre-teen), I am concerned about raising a child who will be ready to face the world at 18.

  • crazequilt By crazequilt

    I think this is a great idea as well. I am a critical care nurse and see the results of obesity and diabetes and cannot believe today's statistics on the rise in childhood obesity and diabetes, and heart disease. Yes today children are being diagnosed with heart disease and high cholesterol. As parents we need to give them the opportunity to succeed in life and one of the easiest ways is to keep them healthy. If we take the time to show them that walking to school can be fun, or that it has a benefit think what else we are helping them with....long life!

  • lauraswann By lauraswann

    GREAT idea! With so many overweight and obese children now what a marvelous idea. What a gret way to conserve and use less gas. I wish my children and I lived close enough to walk to their school we live 10 miles away. I love the fact that the schools are encouraging this with prizes, but it could just be done to try and get children to make healthier choices. We don't always have to be motivated with prizes, intrinsic motivation is good, too.

  • mandyspeaking By mandyspeaking

    I love the incentives and fun ways listed here to encourage kids to walk to school. Not only environmentally friendly, but gives them the much needed exercise and thus parents too get in shape.

  • binhach By binhach

    I wish that would start similar programs for adults as well. If people had incentives, that would encourage people not drive so much.

  • cshafer08 By cshafer08

    While my children are too young (3 yrs, and 9 months), given the proper training for handling strangers, and the right neighborhood, I would let them walk once they are old enough. I think for the first school year I'd walk with them, I could use the exercise! I do think that with issues such as childhood obesity, pollution, and other problems being such a big factor in our society today, I feel this is a wonderful program and I wish we could get the other 10 states involved!

  • mr44 By mr44

    Walking or biking to school is what all kids should do, if they are able. When I was growing up we walked to school everyday. Offering incentives to the kids though I'm torn about. In a way it's good if it's encouraging kids to walk. But on the other hand kids should do it without having to be rewarded.

  • chiromom By chiromom

    I love the idea, but living 13 miles from the school is not an option for my kids to walk....But they also do not drive in, they ride the bus....I think that our school needs to keep physical education in the system for all grades...Alot of the juniors and seniors are very overweight...

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