Ok, so Winter Walk Day is Wednesday Feb 3rd, it’s an event aimed at parents and children to leave the car at home and trek to school! If you remember reading my past blogs, I’m the mom who lets her daughter and stepsons walk to school. Yes, by themselves, with friends or (like my daughter) as a ‘walking buddy’, chaperoning two younger girls to school in the morning (and getting paid for it)!
In an effort to have children enjoy these great Canadian winters, communities across Ontario are celebrating winter and active commuting. Walking to school is fun, healthy, environmentally friendly and decreases the number of cars around the school (because parents leave the car at home and walk instead). It’s also a great way for your kids to chat with each other, make new friends, be physically active and feel good about themselves.
This is important. Why? Because we have children who are not getting enough physical activity each day, instead choosing to sit and watch screens or play hand-held devices. I stand out on my street in the winter and no one is out, not even adults, unless they are shovelling snow. Where is everyone?
Our children need to be more active. Only 66% of Halton grade 7 students report being physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. By the way, 60 minutes of daily activity is recommended by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for children. So, simply walking to and from school helps a child achieve at least 20 to 30 minutes of those recommendations. How easy is that!
So what is a parent to do? Let them walk, not just on winter walk day, but every day. Make walking a part of your lifestyle. Here are just some of the benefits:
- Your children will achieve part of their recommended daily physical activity.
- They will be more likely to have a healthy weight.
- They will learn about their neighbourhood, meet others along the way, enjoy nature and become independent thinkers.
- They will not be sitting in the car.
- And, if you join them, you can spend some quality time together and work towards meeting the adult physical activity guidelines.
And if you are lucky like me, your child can start a walking buddy business, make some cash and get off your payroll (well, at least for a little while).
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this guest blogger:
Jennifer Jenkins-Scott has been a health professional for 32 years. She lives in Dundas, Ontario with her three children, husband and the family dog. When she is not at work she can be found chauffeuring the kids around to various activities, or if she is lucky, on the bike trails, in the gym, skiing, crafting, entertaining or at home with a good book or movie.