Parents proudly celebrate their children’s first steps as a major milestone. We watched, waited, and encouraged, we heaped praise on children for taking their first short, perilous, wobbly, pedestrian journey.
After that momentous occasion, most parental interest in walking falls away very sharply indeed.
Our society’s dependence on cars is one reason why children don't walk as much as we used to when we were growing up. Concern about ‘stranger danger’ and traffic accidents is another. The fact that adults no longer walk much ourselves doesn’t really create the expectation among kids that walking is a natural part of life.
So how do we turn this around? Well, we encourage all parents to start walking more with their children. As a community, we all need to be out and about on our two feet more often if children are to be inspired to do the same (it's difficult for parents to convince children that walking is fun if nobody else is doing it).
Encouraging your children to walk more is one of the best things you can do as a parent. It keeps them fit and active.
What's more, encouraging your children to walk helps them learn about road safety and prepares them for independence. It shows them that the world is an interesting place, and gives them the chance to watch their own neighbourhoods change with the seasons. It keeps them connected with other people who live nearby – older people and other children.