13 Oct 2020
Active travel tips
Getting kids back to school after the coronavirus restriction measures
As coronavirus restrictions gradually begin to ease and face-to-face learning resumes, it’s back to school we go. The question is, how will we get there?
If possible, make active travel the preferred mode of transport to school
We’re all in this together, and walking, riding or scooting to school helps us ease traffic on our roads and reduce numbers on public transport.
It’s also a great opportunity to retain those healthy habits families may have developed recently, and depending on your school, it may ease congestion of drop off zones around your school, which will help everyone maintain physical distancing.
So with less traffic on the roads, more people on the footpath and fewer events in the diary, now’s the time to build confidence in active travel with kids.
Below are some tips to help parents make it their number one mode of transport.
Tips for parents:
· With less traffic on the roads, now is a great time to teach your kids about road safety and help build their confidence around walking/scooting/riding to school.
· Familiarise yourself with the new protocols. Your school may have different drop off times and locations for different year levels.
· Take it in turns. Many other parents in your school community will be working from home right now, so why not take it in turns to walk/ride/scoot to school with the kids?
· Set a good example by continuing to walk or cycle to local places, including school.
· Get quality time that builds life skills. Walking kids to school is a great opportunity to get kids active and build their confidence and life skills. It’s also a chance for everyone to spend some quality family time together.
· Part way is OK! If the walk to school is too far, you can park a few blocks from the school and walk the rest of the way.
· Help your child become familiar with the local neighbourhood and identify the safest routes (e.g. where there are safe road crossings).
· Practice and reinforce the skills your child needs to travel safely, such as riding a bike and knowing the road rules.
· Slowly build independence by letting your child do things gradually. This is also a good reason to start by parking the car a few blocks from school and walking the rest of the way by themselves or arrange for them to walk with friends or neighbours.
· Make a plan with your child about possible strategies for when things go wrong, such as getting lost, if a stranger approaches them, or if they or their friend gets injured.
· Observe your child’s behaviour and independence, and look for signs of readiness.
· Agree on a plan with your child for the transition towards independence, and set milestones and boundaries.
Walking, riding or scooting to school can help everyone – it’s great for health, the environment and our community. Check out more evidence-based tips for parents on how to start here.