Two girls in denim walking to school together on a shiny day

Walking to School: Why is It Better Than Taking a Ride?

Walking to school for kids is pretty manageable if you live close to the school. If that’s not the case, parents usually take their kids by car or send them on the bus. However, there are much better and healthier options than taking a ride!

Walking or even riding a bike or skating is a much better option. But why? 

Let’s find out!

Walking to School Misperceptions

As a form of protection, parents often believe that driving kids to school is safer than letting them ride a bike or walk. Even though we as parents, can understand your concerns, the reality is that there is a bigger chance of getting harmed when in the car than when walking.


Also, kids not walking often means less activity, which is never a plus. Everyday ride to and from school is a way of denying the kids physical activity. Also, schools are usually close to the kids’ neighbors, if not in it, so a 10/15 minutes walk can only benefit a child.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that from time to time, you can take your kid on a bus or give them a ride, but doing that as an everyday activity is not recommended. 

It is always a good idea to get to know your neighbors, make friends, and even form a walking group of kids that are attending the same school. As a result, parents are less likely to be concerned about walking to school. Also, the sense of community is strengthened and everyone will start feeling confident about the new routine.


Health Benefits of Walking to School

There are numerous benefits of walking or riding a bike to school. From those physical ones to those mental ones. Let’s check them. 

1. Avoid the morning traffic

Early morning traffic can be one of the most frustrating parts of driving to school. There is nothing more frustrating than a morning rush that can make tempers flare.

Instead, taking a bike or a walk to school will make your morning much more pleasant. First, you will skip the morning rush, second, you will not get stuck in the traffic, and third, you will not get annoyed by others or by being late. And most importantly, your kids can enjoy their morning commute with/her friends. 

Also, when you are not taking the car, you will not deal with potential problems in the parking lot. Rather than having to drive to the pickup and drop-off point and find a place to park in a crowded car park, it’s easier just to walk or ride instead. If you find it difficult to let your kid walk to school, lots of neighbors and schools have part way drop off points where you can join and organize a walk or ride to school with others! With less flustered feelings, the start of the school day can be smooth and calm for you and the kids.

2. Save money

Even though you might live near the school and you think that it wouldn’t cost you much to drive but that’s not actually the truth. Okay, it can be cost-effective for a day, but the mileage adds up over time when you commute twice a day, five times a week. This meant that walking or biking would reduce gas consumption and vehicle maintenance costs in the long run.


3. Help the environment

Saving the environment is a thing that we learn our kids early on. One of the ways to do so is by teaching them to ride a bike or take walk whenever they can. This has a huge impact on our environment. Walking or biking instead of driving makes a positive difference, even if the distance seems insignificant. 

4. Establishing healthy habits

Your kids will be more likely to engage in exercise as they age if you make walking a regular habit. As something becomes a habit, it becomes less effort—we have less tendency to fight against it mentally since we don’t have to make any decisions. This theory applies the same way to kids.

5. Increases socialization

When kids do activities together, even if it’s a simple walk or a bike ride, they socialize, which is a crucial thing for kids’ development. Going to school together in a group is a great way for kids to bond together. On their way to and going back from school, they can chat about what’s exciting or worrying them, while the journey home enables them to decompress and process the day’s events.

And, most importantly, walking to school is a great opportunity for kids to socialize with other peers from the neighborhood they don’t normally interact at school. 

6. Knowing road rules

Parents usually consider kids’ safety when going to school. But if you teach your kids road safety rules that they must obey, your worries will be much less. This includes:

  • Never run on streets
  • Always walk on the pavement side
  • Always cross the street on the black and white stripes – Zebra crossings
  • Make sure you check the traffic light before crossing the road
  • Always look both ways when crossing the road
  • Never cross the road when using a mobile phone or another electronic device
  • Never cross the road if you are listening to music

These are the basic things that kids should start learning as soon as they are ready to comprehend. Over time and with practice, it becomes a lifelong skill, but it takes time, so parents, be patient. They will learn about road safety on every journey to school, regardless of whether they are riding a bike or walking.

7. Time away from the screen

Even though technology has its advantages, the true reality is that our kids spend far more time watching screens than outside. Time spent in front of a computer or phone instead of playing and being active can result in an unhealthy lifestyle that will persist later in life. Not only do kids risk the chance of being less active, but exposure to high levels of blue light, which throws off the body’s circadian rhythm, can also influence how well they sleep. Additionally, they may lose out on all that nature has to offer. 

Thus, instead of giving your kid a phone to watch cartoons, take them on a short trip to a local park and do those exercises to help your baby walk. The early you start introducing walks and time in nature to your kid, the higher chance the kid will adopt that kind of lifestyle later in life.

As your kid grows older, and school time starts, walking or riding to and from school enables your youngster to enjoy nature, move their bodies, and spend time away from a screen. And, if you are walking or riding together, make sure you obey the road rules, appreciate the nature around you, and even pet an animal!

Mental Health Benefits of Walking to School

A lot of studies have shown that kids who walk to school or bike, perform better in terms of their attention/alertness, verbal, numerical, and reasoning skills. But aside from these advantages, these kids have less stress and more pleasant school days. They also showed a greater sense of happiness and excitement on the way to school. 

In addition to fostering personal growth, walking to school can enhance road and traffic safety skills, emotional bonds with peers, and independence in making decisions.

Also, physical and healthy activities such as a simple walk can reduce the risk for early anxiety, as well as depression, and other mental health issues. 

The Physical Benefits

Every day walking to school and going back, can be a great way of physical activity for kids. And with more physical activities, metabolism will increase, cardiorespiratory fitness will improve, and weight will decrease. Also, research shows that everyday activities and exercise can reduce the risk for certain diseases and health problems.  

Getting to school by foot or bicycle means moving more and sitting less. Making this physical activity as a normal part of kids’ daily routine will help them stay active and prevent many health problems. These advantages imply to all seasons, whether your kids are walking in those summer shoes or is passing through the big pile of snow, the fitness benefits are there!

Remember that any minute your kid walks contributes to the daily guidelines for physical activity. 

In Conclusion About Walking to School

The importance of being active has downgraded in the last couple of years. Especially in a time when everything around us has become electrical and a matter of touch. However, parents are slowly starting to be aware once again of the importance of physical activity. 

Simple walking to school or biking is a great activity that kids should implement in their everyday routine. Instead of boring, frustrating, tense, and expensive car rides, talk for a walk. Go with your kiddo, or ensure he/she goes within the group of friends. They will be more refreshed, they will socialize, have more physical activity, and in the end fall in love with nature!


  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.