05/27/2013 12:50 EDT | Updated 07/27/2013 05:12 EDT

It's Time Our Kids Walked To School


walking A recent report by Active Healthy Kids Canada revealed that only 34 per cent of children in B.C. are walking or biking to school, while 50 per cent are being driven to school, or take the bus or train.

The report also shows a considerable difference in the habits of this generation of children versus their parents. While 58 per cent of us walked to school when we were kids, only 28 per cent of our kids are doing the same today across Canada.

I get it. Especially in Vancouver.

Today people do not just send their children to the school around the corner. Differences in programming (French immersion, arts, Montessori) and perceived quality (i.e. public vs. private) dictate the decisions parents make in terms of where they send their children to school. Sometimes it works out perfectly (as it did for me) where the neighbourhood school is a great fit for your child. And sometimes it doesn't -- and then, you have to drive.

What I don't get is people who actually live close to the school and still drive their kids. Are they worried something will happen to their children if they walk? What is this perceived sense of danger that many parents have about their children walking to school?

I believe walking to school gives kids a sense of community. They get to know their route. Their neighbourhood, literally, becomes their stomping ground. Kids already spend so much time in transit to and from endless activities, play dates and lessons (don't even get me started on how over-scheduled I think kids are today). Walking is also healthy! I think that if it's an option to walk or bike anywhere, we should do that with our kids. It will teach them to not be lazy and just jump in the car whenever they need to go somewhere!

What are your thoughts? Why do you think fewer children are walking to school these days?