The Walk Your Kid to School 1-mile Radius Challenge

With school starting and the temperatures in Denver pleasant, why not do two things to start the school year as we all head back to school? And with National Walk to School Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to give a walk to school a try! Your kids are ready! Are you?

First, walk your kids or grandkids to school. Imagine the conversations you could have if you had a few minutes with your kids that were uninterrupted by cell phones, video games, toys, or other distractions. What might your kid say to you that can’t be said at the dinner table or from the back seat of your car?

Second, take the 1-mile radius challenge. You’ll get the chance to see your neighborhood from your kids’ point of view. Maybe you’ll discover a new favorite place, or perhaps your kid will share her secret go-to place that she thinks she only knows about?

Wake Up and Walk

Wouldn’t it feel great to get a few steps in with your kid before school started? It doesn’t take that long to walk. There are many research studies that show that walking your kid to school is not only quicker than driving, but it improves your relationship, reduces pollution around the school, and creates a better sense of community.

Set that alarm just a few minutes earlier, and you can probably find the time you need to walk your kid to school. Shoot, it might even be faster than driving to the kiss n go lane, waiting in line to drop, dropping, and driving away. Plus, your kids will start to learn the ritual of a morning walk. It’s the morning quiet among the chaos that just might settle them into a better day with better attention.

Or, if you can’t afford the extra few minutes to walk your kid, how about at least parking a few blocks away and walking with your child the last few blocks rather than idling in the kiss n go lane? Even a few blocks are worthwhile. Plus, you’ll be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Need some evidence that walking your kid to school is good for you and your kid?

Read 5 Reasons to Walk Your Kid to School. The first reason is reason enough!

Wondering if your kid is old enough to walk alone?

Read Walking and Biking to School. You’ll be surprised at how ready they are and at how young!

How should your kid walk to school?

Get a buddy and read Should Your Child Walk to School? Maybe you will find your own buddy as your kid finds hers!

Is the route safe to school?

Read Safe Routes to School. Sadly, not all routes are safe, but there are great resources available to make your school route safer.

Got anxious kids?

Read Anxious Kids? Let Them Walk to School. Oh, the science!

Take the 1-mile Radius Challenge

Walking to school benefits you, your family, and your community. It reduces pollution around schools, opens up the neighborhood, and increases overall happiness for everyone. Granted, you may have to put on an extra layer of clothes, find a lost glove, or tie a different shoelace, but wouldn’t you have to do that anyway sometime in the day?

So once you’ve tackled the challenge of walking to school, try doing it on Mondays and Fridays. Then add in Wednesday. And soon enough, you’ll be walking to school five days a week. Perhaps you’ll even find the time to start walking your kids home from school, too. Could you actually achieve the impossible? Walk to and fro every day of the week?

Finally, if you’ve gotten the itch to walk to school, there are other locations within a mile or two of your house where you can also walk. Expand your walking world beyond the few blocks to school and take the 1-mile radius walking challenge (click for instructions.)

In the 1-mile walking challenge, you turn your neighborhood into your own urban hiking jungle. Within that jungle, you might find steps, bridges, streams, highways, streets, and sidewalks. Along the way is your mailbox. Next to that might be a post office.

Or a grocery store. Dentist. Doctor. Friend. Family. Vet.

Perhaps you might even find a new favorite spot on top of a hill or next to a creek where you can take a deep breath and relax from your day? Would having just five minutes of me time change your attitude for your next meeting or business call?

Crazier yet, perhaps you take on the 1-mile challenge on the walk to get your kids from school? Or maybe you get them and together, you take the challenge with them. Is the ice cream store within a mile? the tutor? the after-school activity?

So, for this fall, as the weather turns and we all get back into our regular schedules, how about we all take the time to change one habit or one behavior? Let’s pick walking more as the one change that benefits everyone. You’ll get some exercise, your kids will get some quality time with you, the community will open up and you’ll see and hear things you miss in the car, and traffic and pollution will reduce near your kids’ school. After all, isn’t that how we’re all trying to improve the world in our own little ways? One person, one hug, one wave at a time?

I hope you’ll discover your neighborhood by foot, and perhaps you’ll post some great shots of you walking with your kids to or/and from school. Or perhaps you’ll post a few shots of you enjoying the 1-mile challenge, in a zen pose, in your favorite secret hide-a-way in your neighborhood. If you do, please be sure to tag #denverbyfoot so I can see them!

Discover your neighborhood by foot.

Let me know how it goes!