With the summer holidays fast approaching, it is a great time for families to make a fresh start and think about how you can transform the school run, starting healthy habits you can take into next term.
If you’re wanting to make the journey to school more engaging, active and fun, then consider ditching the car. Whilst driving may be your default option for speed and convenience, it can lead to sluggish congestion around the school gates and a frustrating battle for parking. Not to mention contributing to a sedentary lifestyle and air pollution.
Live too far away from school? Consider parking slightly further away or getting off the bus a few stops early and walking the rest of the way.
Not only does an active journey to school make children more physically healthy, research has also found that it has a huge impact on a child’s mood and academic performance by reducing stress and aiding concentration.
If you’re a parent or carer of little ones, it is never too early to establish healthy habits and a love for activity. Walking, cycling or scooting to school is an easy and effective way of incorporating more exercise into both yours and your child’s daily life. And remember, scooting is for everyone! If you have to get to work on time after the drop-off, scooting to and from school is a great way to speed up the journey whilst still getting active.
Read on to learn why some local parents love their active school run-
“It helps us stay active as a family without thinking about it”
“We stop and look at the plants and flowers in people’s gardens, we see the dandelions and hear the bees – it prompts different conversations that you wouldn’t necessarily get when you’re all bundled into a car”
“I walk my child to school every day. Whatever the weather, come snow, rain or sunshine – we always go together! Sometimes he will ride his bike to school, while I walk alongside him. It’s been great to see his confidence grow, and if we’d have been in the car, I would have missed those special moments”
“Our mornings feel relaxed when we walk to school. We also notice far more things on the way like people’s cats, what people have in their gardens, hearing what is going on around us and seeing familiar faces on the way. It’s made us feel more connected and more engaged with the community that the school is part of”
Find more inspiring personal stories from the Connecting Leeds Walk.it Ride.it campaign here.
For children in year 6, it is a very important time in their lives as they transition to secondary school. With this change may come extra responsibility and independence, so it is a great opportunity to develop a healthy, active routine. Or, if your child is already settled in secondary, a new school year is the perfect chance to shake things up.
To make the journey as enjoyable as possible, children could plan to take quieter roads, use the city’s new cycle lanes, or meet up with friends.
However your child is getting to school, encourage them to create an ‘active travel plan’ over summer so they are safe, prepared and feel confident to tackle the new school year. Download the child-friendly ‘Good to Go’ Guide to help you safely plan the journey to secondary school together.
Connecting Leeds is dedicated to transforming travel in Leeds and creating a well-connected and healthy city for all those who live, work and visit the city.
Get Set Leeds wants to get the city moving and is encouraging people of all ages to get active. We want children to fall in love with activity and be able to sustain healthy habits all the way to adulthood.
For more information and ideas on how you can get moving, visit out Get Active page.