Walk Your Kids To School DayThe alarm clock sounds.  Not a real one, but the one with no snooze button.  Our 1 year old is the rooster at our house.  His crow is a happy cry – his only way of saying “Here I am.  Come and get me.  It’s MORNING!”

The rest of us are slightly less enthused.  Even our 3 year old sometimes reluctantly pulls herself out of bed.

It is morning at the Gosselin household.  Up at 6:30am.  Out of the house by 7:45am.  We live less than a mile from our kids’ daycare (which we call “play school” or just “school” because our 3 year would rather go to ”school” than “care” any day).  Nonetheless, we still pile ourselves in the car and drive our kids to school.

When we originally did our Drive Responsibly: Reduce Your Carbon Emissions challenge in June, we started walking our kids to school in an effort to save fuel and reduce our carbon footprint.  Unfortunately, now that we are back to work, we have returned to old habits like driving our kids to school.  We justify this to ourselves because the school is on our way to work, so we’re not really impacting our carbon emissions by making one more tiny little stop.  (Are we?)

But what about the other benefits of walking?  I have to admit, I’m finding it harder and harder to find the energy and daylight for an evening walk these days.  And even though I’m only back at work part-time, I still miss my kids.  Maybe we’ve inadvertently cut out a healthy, positive family activity that is setting a good example for our kids?

Walk Your Kids To School Day

October 5th is Walk Your Kids to School Day.  This is an excellent event sponsored by EveryBody Walk, an organization dedicated to inspiring people to improve their health through walking.  In honour of this event, and because our friends at Healthy Child asked, we decided to do our own walk to school day experiment.  We wanted to find out if it was worth it to fit a daily walk into our busy lives – not once a year, but once a week.

We knew we couldn’t do this experiment on a weekend day.  That would be cheating.  In order to really know if walking our kids to school would be to our advantage, we had to brave it on a workday.  Mission accomplished.  Here’s how our day went down.  As always, skip ahead if you don’t care for the details.

The Log

6:30am Alarm clock sounds.  (i.e. Baby wakes.)  Fetch baby and bring him into bed.  Uselessly attempt to quiet him.

6:40am Pre-schooler wakes and comes into bed.  Now we’re really up.  Carl pulls on clothes and brings the kids downstairs.

6:45am Carl makes banana shakes for the kids.  Andrea gets dressed and fusses for a while.

7am Coffee is (finally) made.  Kids play while grown-ups desperately inhale coffee at breakneck pace.

7:15am Andrea dresses kids while Carl gets spiffied up.

7:30am Snacks packed.  Coats on.  Out the door.  Luckily, the sun is shining and the kids are happy.  Our daughter decides she’d rather walk than sit in the stroller and actually walks the whole way, chatting happily about the colors of the cars that pass by.

7:45am Arrive at school.  Carl drops daughter.  Andrea drops son.

8am Back outside.  Time to walk home.  Wow.  Unexpected alone time with no kids.  Hey, I remember kind of liking this handsome stranger.

8:15am  In the car.  Off to work.  Perhaps even a little happier than usual.

8:25am  At work.  Day carries on in the usual way, but perhaps I’m missing the kids a little less.

The Verdict

I have to say, I think walking our kids to school totally rocked.  We basically sacrificed 15 minutes of sleep and gained 30 minutes of family time.  Perhaps the planets aligned this one morning and provided sunny weather as well as sunny dispositions.  Or perhaps the dispositions resulted from the healthy exertion itself.  Regardless, both Carl and I were happy to have participated in our morning jaunt.  We agreed wholeheartedly that we would walk the kids to school every Wednesday going forward – weather permitting.  (Check back with us in February.)

The Goodness

Most of us are painfully aware that childhood obesity is on the rise.  (Check out what the World Health Organization says for more information.)  Given our busy schedules and easy access to more sedentary ways of keeping our kids amused, it’s really not surprising.  So how can we teach our kids that its important to stay active and be healthy?  That faster and easier is not always better?

Walking with our kids is an excellent way to demonstrate that it’s worthwhile to take time out and be active each day.  If you’re looking for a way to get your family moving, consider participating in your local Walk Your Kids to School Day.  Or, if school is not a feasible destination for you, just walk anywhere.  The bottom line is: get moving and your kids will too.  It’s really that simple.  Good luck.

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About the Author

Just a small town mom trying to make the world a better place for my kids. One small change at a time.

2 Responses to Walking to School – Fitting Health And Family Into Your Daily Routine

  1. lorialper says:

    What a great perspective-you lost 15 minutes of sleep time, but gained 30 minutes of family time! If walking all the time isn’t an option-doing it some of the time is setting a great example. It’s amazing to me the conversation that shows up when we go for a walk. It’s such a great time to connect and catch up!

  2. Andrea says:

    Thanks so much Lori. I checked out your post about walking to school (loved it) and some other great stuff on your site. (It’s groovygreenlivin.com if anyone wants to check it out.) Great info on toxins in plastics – inspired me to purge my plstic once again.

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Meet The Gosselins The Gosselins - July, 2015. Still living the dream (ha!).

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