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NOW CLOSED: It's Walking to School Week: talk to Kia about your DC walking to school – you could win a £150 voucher and a weekend loan of a Kia Carens

(141 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 17-May-13 12:07:43

You may know that week starting 20 May 2013 is Walk to School Week which promotes the benefits of walking to school.

In support of this campaign the car folks, Kia, have a scheme called the Walking Bus where they supply schools with all they need to encourage children to walk to school (for example by providing high viz bibs) and parents take on the role of a 'driver' and 'conductor' to escort children on a designated route to school.

Kia say "Did you know that over the past couple of decades, the number of children walking to school has fallen sharply. In 2011, 49% of primary school aged children and 38% of secondary school aged children walked to school, down from 62% of primary and 48% of secondary school aged children in 1991".

Kia would love to know what you think about this and the Walking Bus scheme and how you're going to get involved in Walk to School Week this year.

Please share on this thread....
~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

Everyone who shares a tip, story or thought on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £150 voucher for wallpaperdirect and a weekend loan of a Kia Carens*.

Thanks and good luck,
MNHQ

* ps car loan will be dependent on acceptance of Kias T&Cs which will be emailed to the winner

Iwillorderthefood Sat 18-May-13 07:56:33

We nearly always walk to school. It is quicker to walk than drive to the school, we go by car when it is raining, since I want my children to enjoy walking to school and feel that an enforced walk in the rain will cause my children to become very negative about walking to school.

When we drive we have to leave earlier as it is very difficult to park and therefore the girls have to spend about 20 minutes in the car waiting before actually arriving in their classrooms.

It is due to the waiting around and leaving earlier that my children prefer to walk to school.

As one of my children is at nursery, I do this walk six times a day, (almost a mile ech time), and it amazes me how many parents think that I walk because I do not own a car. It is lovely of them to offer me lifts, but we are walking right now since I am not working, and do not have to rush off to my job. We are all keeping fit, and helping to cut congestion just a little bit and hopefully helping someone who absolutely needs to be in their car on the school run get there a little bit quicker.

We play counting the number of minis on the way to school, as well as spot the cat. The girls often use their scooters on the way to school. The walk to school provides the children an opportunity to talk about anything that has happened during the day, and it is a special time.

Walking to school each day teaches them road sense, and will hopefully ensure that once they a walking on their own, they will be able to conduct themselves in a safe and sensible manner to school.

We always walk as it is only about 1/4 mile and you have to leave earlier if you drive than if you walk to be able to park. I like the social aspect, chatting to other families and DD loves walking back with her friend who lives in the same direction. DS has been going on his own since he wss 8 (only have to cross one quiet cul de sac) and I am always a few minutes behind to check he got there OK, have a word with teacher if needed etc. I walk home jump in the car and can be on the road to work by 8.50, which is plenty early enough.

I wouldn't either volunteer for or use a walking bus, we don't need it.

MegBusset Sat 18-May-13 09:05:36

We always walk to and from school - we're only half a mile away and there's no parking allowed on roads near the school during school start and finish times (though plenty of parents ignore this!). Advantages: keeps us fit, and a chance to have a good chat. Disadvantage: icy pavements in winter, and dog poo all year round angry

A walking bus is a good idea, I've seen one near where we used to live. I think it's a big responsibility for the people running it though, and not sure you'd get enough volunteers round here.

DontMeanToBeRudeBut Sat 18-May-13 09:57:40

We moved DS to a nursery within walking distance just after Easter and I have to say, I'm really enjoying walking him there and back. It's about half a mile either way so completely do-able with him walking and DD in the sling.

The advantages:
• I've found I've got to know my area a bit better. I've used the local corner shop for the first time in 3.5 years and found a playground I didn't even know existed before;
• It's inspired me to do a bit more walking rather than hopping in the car every time I go somewhere. I now walk to DD's baby activities and actively choose things to do with the DC that are in our local area rather than a drive away;
• As a result of ^, my petrol costs have come down significantly. I used to fill up every 1.5-2 weeks, now it's every 2.5 weeks, saving me about £40 in this past month;;
• DS is getting more exercise and he enjoys walking (most of the time!), pointing out birds and insects; picking daisies and dandelions and collecting pine cones and snail shells;
• I've found out that DS is an amazing jumper! He started off jumping over water stop-tap covers, then paving slabs and now two paving slabs at a time. I have no other 3 year-olds to compare him to but I'm already scheming for the long jump in the 2028 Olympics grin; and
• I'm saved the stress of loading everyone into the car, sitting in a traffic jam, scrabbling for a parking space, unloading everyone... It's a lot less stressful to just put DD in the carrier and walk. If she falls asleep I don't need to wake her up either.

Disadvantages:
• We have got wet a few times! That wasn't so fun;
• Sometimes DS is really tired after nursery and wails and strops the whole way home, refusing to walk or going really slowly. That is wearing; and
• I do worry about DS being safe. We live on a busy main road and he doesn't want to hold my hand all the time, although he's generally very good.

I don't think a walking bus scheme would work in a nursery with lots of children coming from out of catchment but I'm pleased that the infant school we will be applying to for DS does offer a walking bus service.

edam Sat 18-May-13 10:30:05

We've always walked to school. Now I commute by train so can't take ds myself but another parent walks him up. Seems easy to me, I'm not sure there are any top tips for putting one foot in front of the other! It's a nice way to spend time with ds

edam Sat 18-May-13 10:39:52

Possibly because you are walking ie engaged on a task, not facing each other, I think kids tell you stuff, about their day or random thoughts, that you wouldn't get otherwise. When I went back to work I really missed this and whenever I get a day off, I really enjoy that insight into ds's world. And it's good exercise - when dh was at home and started driving I noticed ds put on weight! (I had words with dh and they started walking again.)

Also, it means ds bumps into his friends and plays and chats with them, and meets loads of dogs, so even though we don't have one, he's never been nervous.

Only top tip I can imagine is, on a wet day, wear a raincoat with a hood...

We always walk to school as we live very close to the school. The advantages are that we don't have to battle to find a parking spot, we often walk up with friends, it wakes us all up in the morning, and it's a good opportunity to chat after school about the day.
Disadvantages are carrying the art work produced each day!

Sounds like a good scheme but generally people who don't walk to school have very good reasons for this and are unlikely to change unless their own circumstances change.

Thingymajigs Sat 18-May-13 11:13:58

My son's school is 2 miles away and we've always walked. This was originally out of neccessity because I didn't drive and the bus service was inadequate and extortianate (£2.20 for a 3 minute journey that wasn't convenient time wise).
The advantages are that I don't have the stress of driving or the annoyance of finding a place to park. The school run also keeps us fit which means I don't have to worry about finding time to exercise.
The disadvantages are mostly weather related. We have been caught in horrendous downpours and also suffered in a heatwave without shade as well as a few close calls from skidding on ice. When my children were young they struggled with the walk which caused a few tantrums. I guess it takes up time too but as I've always walked to wherever I need to be I don't see this as an issue.
I would definitely be interested in a scheme like this. It would be very useful in situations where one of my children was unwell and the other still needed to get to school. We always see other parents who do the same walk as we do and I often wondered if we could set up a scheme like this.

elizaco Sat 18-May-13 12:05:28

We live a mile away from my daughter's primary school. The road is a narrow country lane, so I wouldn't be happy for her to walk by herself (she is 9). We walk to/from school maybe 2 or 3 times a week. I must admit the weather is the biggest decider as to whether we walk or go in the car - in summer months we definitely walk more often! I think it is great exercise and also a great chance to chat without any distractions. Once a month the school has a "Walk to School" day. Children (and parents) meet at the local village hall car-park at 8.15 and walk up to school (approx a mile). This has proved very popular, especially as those children who take part get breakfast at school!

Turnipvontrapp Sat 18-May-13 14:15:41

We either drive, walk or scoot to school. If I am working its drive unfortunately due to lack of time but I do love the walk and think its best for the kids too. It's about a 30 minute walk.

Succoria Sat 18-May-13 15:35:16

We moved house specifically so we could walk to school. It takes about ten minutes each way, and we all really enjoy it. The walk there is a good way to wake us all up in the morning, and the walk home gives us a nice opportunity to chat without distractions of homework, TV etc once we get home.

I don't really see that there are disadvantages, we live so close that if we were ever to drive, it would take just as long getting into the car, (with Ds2 in his car seat), driving up the hill, finding a parking space (almost impossible unless you park practically next to our house, or are prepared to leave 45 mins before school ends to get a space), then getting out of the car, walking to the school, then doing the whole thing in reverse. Walking is probably quicker, and certainly less stressful. Then you have the added benefits like exercise, positive impact on the environment etc.

RollingThunder Sat 18-May-13 16:01:23

I walk to school whenever possible. School is a mile away which is a lot for a reception child on the way home at the end of a long week and I have a younger child as well. Ds1 also needs a high level of supervision on roads. So I went out and bought a second hand bugaboo bee on eBay and a buggy board. It makes it all possible as I can have control over both kids if I need to and it's not a problem if they are tired.

Without that I honestly don't think we'd walk. With that I resent any day we have to drive due due to weather or going on somewhere else.

Even in the snow I felt safer walking than driving on the ice. But walking was very hard work as the pavements weren't gritted and its REALLY hard work pushing a buggy with two children on it through snow!!!

I wouldn't put ds1 in a walking bus as he gets too tired to walk all the way home at the end of a long week (hence the buggy board)

The level of supervision he needs means I can't really watch him and other children and nor could another mum! So I might as well just walk my two.

I find it brilliant though walking them to school, helps all of us stay fit and healthy and really reduces our stress levels! (Especially mine!!)

apatchylass Sat 18-May-13 19:05:08

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

Love the walk to school these days, as school opened up a short cut through fields. Before we had to take the long way round, which when DC were in reception took up to 40 mins of dawdling. Now it's a peaceful ramble through fields all wet with dew. Great time to chat to DS and look at nature. Even now DC are older we stop to admire trees in blossom or spider's webs netted over hedges. In snow we take a sledge.

Only disadvantage is when DC had instruments, swimming stuff and other extras to bring in, all on the same day. Very rare though.

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!

Yes.

~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?

DS1 can't walk to school - he has to take the train as it's 10 miles away. But he walls to and from train station - about 5-10 mins each side of train journey.

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say

Often discussed a walking bus but in our village a lot of mums either work from home or are SAHMs while DC are in reception, and sad as it sounds, we all wanted to walk our own children to school each day. Like the idea though.

~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

mercibucket Sat 18-May-13 19:31:32

friends call on ds1 and they walk in together, so an informal walking bus
no way on earth i would volunteer for or use a walking bus. i dont trust other peoples kids not to run off, and am not relying on a strangers road sense either

changeforthebetter Sat 18-May-13 21:17:24

I get pretty fucked off with this tbh. I walk my kids to school on my non-working day. The rest of the week we drive because I am on my way to work, not going home to do a spot of dusting angry I am in enough of a rush as it is. Iam not making an unnecessary fucking journey, I am on my way to fucking work to support my kids by teaching other people's. seriously, I drive because I can't walk them to school and then walk back to pick up the car.

Maybe there are people who drive because they are lazy - they must be rich, given the price of petrol. I drive my kids to school because I actually need not to arrive late for my own job. Get off my back, please! wine

changeforthebetter Sat 18-May-13 21:18:56

Realises is unlikely to be entered for any draw with my rant.... meh!wine

Mandy21 Sat 18-May-13 21:19:38

We drive part of the way, walk part of the way. We live 1.5 miles away from school so this is a compromise for us. The children love the part we walk, saying hello to the lollipop man, waving to their friends. Uses up some of their early morning energy so better at settling down once school starts.

We'll be trying to walk all of the way in Walk to SChool week :-) We'd love the idea of a walking bus!!

vintagesocks Sat 18-May-13 22:19:04

the kids do walk to school - because we live so close to it, it would be crazy to do anything else.

Totally see changeforthebetter's point of view.

500internalerror Sat 18-May-13 23:03:45

We walk/scoot. It's quicker than the bus, cheaper than the bus, and we can leave the house later in the morning because we don't have to allow time for buses going past full! It takes us about 22 minutes. We do cave in & get the bus if the weather is really bad tho!

People who live closer than us drive, arrive early to get a parking spot, & then just drive home (ie no onwards journey to make driving necessary) confused

Ruprekt Sat 18-May-13 23:12:19

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

We walk to school every day. This is mainly because I run the Walking Bus for our school. I am the Walking Bus Co-ordinator!! (twirls) Advantages are that we get a good walk before school and some fresh air and we have a chat with the children on the way to school.
Disadvantages are that if the weather is bad I am a frizzy mess for the rest of the day!

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!

We will be walking to school for Walk To School anyway.

~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?

NA

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say

NA

~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

I started the walking bus 3 years ago when we had to move cars away from the school due to building work. Since then we have set up another bus and we are currently the only successful walking bus in our town from a primary school. Everyone who helps on the bus is trained, the children wear high vis jackets and it works really well. The staff enjoy being on the bus and we make a big fuss of the children too. They have special badges and go up in assembly to advertise the bus.

We avoid brambles, nettles and dog poo and it works well!! grin

asuwere Sat 18-May-13 23:37:57

We walk to school everyday. DH usually has car at work but even if he doesn't, we'd all rather walk. It is much easier than trying to get through traffic and find somewhere to park - to be honest, it probably takes about the same time.

We do school drop off, then back to pick up DS2 from pre-school, then back to pick up DS1 from school so myself and DD1 (3) do the 0.75mile round-trip 3 times a day. It can be very tedious but it's nice to get the fresh air. We are lucky that there is only 1 road to cross and there is a lollipop man.

We do the walk in any weather and I think the kids love it best when it's raining/snowing etc as they get to wear puddlesuits and have great fun! (must find adult puddlesuit or at least pram raincover which covers pusher! wink )

When I was working (on maternity leave), I generally dropped the kids at school on my way to work so it was by car, this was just so I could get to work on time and I do know many parents at school do the same thing.

thebestpossibletaste Sun 19-May-13 00:03:50

My dd is 12 and in year 7 and it's about 2 miles walk to school for her and the bus ride expensive so we run her to school in the car as it's cheaper and more convenient. I would love her to walk to school but she would have to cross a busy (partly 60 mph) road twice as there's no pavement on our side which is the same side as the school. There is no crossing or lolly pop lady outside school. I think an organised accompanied group walk to school would be a great idea and would happily accompany them some of the time when work allows. However sadly none of them seem to walk.

MrsShrek3 Sun 19-May-13 05:13:20

DS1 is dropped off at school by car at 8am as it is on my way to work. He has ASD and limited road sense so no way am I allowing him to walk. When he was at primary in y6 he was allowed to go 10 mins earlier than us as we could watch him across the only road. DC2&3 are dropped off with grandparents and walk to school from there with them. As others say, if I didn't have to be in a school in another town by 8.30 to teach other people's children it would be a piece of cake...we could always walk to school and I could go home and eat toast (sigh)

Our Primary School has included the walk to school week in its travel plan hmm the catchment is small and walking is easy for those who don't work as nobody lives more than a mile and a half from the school gate. The biggest difficulty is all of us pesky working parents. tsk.
There is no walking bus and no plans are happening afaik. Maybe they should have put that in their travel plan too.

JulesJules Sun 19-May-13 16:04:20

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

We always walk to school and back. We live about two thirds of a mile away, it takes about 10-15 minutes. It's fine except when the weather is bad - they don't seem to grit the pavements on the way to school so when we have a lot of snow it takes ages and we fall over a lot grin. I think the advantages are that it gives everyone a chance to wake up in the morning and it's a chance to chat, play games etc. Disadvantages are the weather as mentioned, also when the dds were little they found it tiring after school. Several busy roads to cross so I don't see the girls walking to school on their own for a year or two yet. We don't have a car so we don't have a choice about walking. The other disadvantage is that the dds sometimes have different things on after school which means going backwards and forwards several times.

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
N/A
~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
N/A

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
N/A
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?
N/A

zzzexhaustedzzz Sun 19-May-13 17:00:02

It takes us around 10 minutes to walk to school. I have sometimes let my 8 and 9 year olds walk halfway together alone. I would have done this earlier but there is a main road and some smaller ones. I am confident that they are road-trained but still anxious as there are people who drive like lunatics on the main road. There is no way I would drive it! I know a couple of people this distance away who do!
We don't own a car. We all have bikes but that can be hair-raising.
I wish we had a car for weekends as I think we miss out on things we could drive to.

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