Let your child walk or ride a bike to school!2020-09-07
School has started and maybe this year more parents may let their children walk or ride a bike to and from school due to the corona pandemic. Despite the reason, it is a positive development, says Jessica Westman Trischler at CTF, Service Research Center at Karlstad University. Not only to limit the spread of the virus, but also because it has a positive impact on children’s well-being and performance in school.
"Many parents choose to drive their children to school, usually for practical reasons. Research shows that it is better to let the children walk, ride a bike or go by bus to school. They feel better and perform better in school. Children also become more independent and secure in their local environment," says Jessica Westman Trischler, Postdoc of Psychology.
She has written a doctoral dissertation on children’s and young people's travel habits, and hopes that her research can motivate and contribute to the development of more independent and sustainable travel habits among children and young people.
Time to reassess the school trip
"Children's school trips are about more than getting to and from school - it affects the children’s well-being and how they perform during the rest of the day," says Jessica Westman Trischler. "As long as the distance is reasonable there is rarely any real excuse to take the car. Let your child walk or ride a bike, alone or with you. Consider the school trip as a good opportunity to give your child a good start of the day - and sustainable travel habits to bring into adulthood."
Even if it is best to let your child walk, ride a bike or go by bus to school the day is not ruined if you have to take the car. It is possible to influence the well-being and performance of the children by activating them.
"Children who are active during their school trips - talking and spending time with parents, siblings or friends are happier and more pleased than children who sit quietly by themselves or doze off in the car. Be active, talk and make the trip a pleasant time to socialize. That's my tip for parents who drive their children to school," Jessica Westman Trischler concludes.
Link to the doctoral dissertation "Drivers of children’s travel satisfaction".