When Laurel started kindergarten in the fall, one transition we faced was that of being a one car family in which Jon needed the car most weekdays for his new job. The walk home from school seemed a bit long for Laurel (0.8 miles) but I was bolstered by: a) Kate's recommendation to just get Laurel used to walking (Kate is an urban planner/public transportation/on foot gal); and b) the realization that I used to walk that very same distance to and from my elementary school as a kid. Today's Be Out There idea is to walk it out, whether generally or for a cause.
Walk In General
I can't advocate enough for walking (or biking) in general with your kids. Ours is a car culture and I know that in some communities (e.g., rural, no sidewalks, etc.) it is challenging to not use a car, but if you live in a walk-friendly community, go for it! (Or if you're not in a walk-friendly community, consider talking a hike or walking laps on a school track.) As I mentioned, I had my doubts about Laurel being able to handle the 0.8 mile walk home from school and yes, the first couple of days she grumbled about it, but then the walk evolved into a fun and treasured part of our day -- a time where it is just us, holding hands, catching up about things. With the exception of a couple of torrential downpours this spring, we walk through all weather conditions and I have found that things like snow and rain don't bother Laurel a bit since she is geared up properly.
Now, like anything else, if your kids aren't used to walking very much, take baby steps: start with a walk to the nearby park, then go a little further to the drugstore around the corner to get a newspaper, then go a little further to the center of town to enjoy browsing around or getting a snack together. You'll be surprised by how kids acclimate.
Also, if you need inspiration and a more formal reminder to walk, check out this profile I did on Janie Katz-Christy. Janie is the force behind Green Streets Initiative's Walk/Ride Days -- a citywide celebration that encourages people to use alternative transportation.
Walk For A Cause
Another great inspiration to get out there with your kids is to walk for a cause. This is the time of year where you'll see a lot of cause-based walks happening and they are always replete with families hoofing it out together. For example, tomorrow (April 25) there is the Annual Stroll for Shaken Baby Prevention, Project Bread's Walk for Hunger on May 2, and NSTAR's Walk for Children's Hospital on June 13.
And then of course, very close to my heart, is the May 8 March for Babies, through which I have organized a formal team, Team Boston Mamas & Friends. I would love to have you walk with us, and would be super grateful if you would consider making a donation to the team or my personal page. Also, I am thrilled that these fellow local bloggers are rocking the walk as part of Team Boston Mamas and Friends:
It's not too late to join us if you want to walk or help fund raise. (And no, you don't have to be a blogger to hop on board!)
Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net