Physical activity has many benefits. For example, it is a way to de-stress and unwind, and when you are doing an activity you enjoy, it is plain fun. One way that children used to get some energy out before school and after school was via walking. In fact, about half of schoolchildren (ages 5 to 18) walked or biked to school in 1969. Now, that number is about a mere 10 percent.
Your child might be in that 10 percent, or you could be thinking about allowing your child that measure of freedom. Either way, it is important to discuss a few safety tips with your child.
Often, kids walk to school in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. Even if conditions are perfect, it is still possible for someone such as a drunk driver to not easily spot your child. Young pedestrians should wear bright clothing and maybe even reflective gear. A small, lightweight flashlight can also work wonders.
It is a good idea for you and your child to choose the walking route ahead of time. Walk it many times until the child knows it well. In fact, joining your child on his or her way to and from school is a great way for you to get in some exercise too. If you cannot be with your child, a friend or other type of approved walking buddy helps with safety.
Emphasize practices such as looking both ways before crossing the street and obeying traffic signals and crossing guards. Also explain why running across the street can be unsafe. For one thing, there should be no reason to run. If you are running to get to the other side of the street before a car passes, it is best to wait. Running can lead to tripping and falling, and even being hit by a car.
And then there are general safety tips such as ensuring that shoelaces are tied. If your child carries a cellphone, he or she should not text and walk.