Early September means one thing for busy parents: the start of a new school year. It means buying new uniforms, finding forgotten pencil cases and putting different extra-curricular activities on the calendar (ballet, swimming and football? Phew!).
One thing that might feel a little stale is the school run. Unless your children are changing schools, you’re probably facing the prospect of the same familiar drive day in, day out.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the start of a new school year is the perfect time to think about making changes to the journey to and from school to make the trip easier, healthier, cheaper and more fun too.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Get the family fit on the way to school. Why not see if you can walk to the school gates with your family in the morning? It’s an easy way to fit exercise into your day and spend quality time with the kids while you’re at it.
- Car share with friends or take turns on the school run. Divvy up the school run with friends. It gives you the chance for a lie-in on your mornings off and in the long run it’s a cheaper, more sustainable and sociable alternative to making the trip alone.
- Start a ‘walking bus’. It’s like car sharing, but by foot. Collect kids one by one and make your way to school together. High-vis jackets at the ready!
- Check out your school’s ‘Travel Plan’ or help them create one if they haven’t already. Start a dialogue with your school’s management to find out how they can help you make sustainable travel a more viable option.
- Get personalised travel advice. Turning Tides can help you create bespoke and sustainable routes from A to B, whether that’s from your home to school, or from the school to your nearest supermarket.
- Make sure your kids are road-ready. Keep an eye out for Cycle Southend’s fantastic Bikeability and Learn to Ride courses, which give kids confidence cycling on the roads.
- Research the council’s Home to School Transport options. Your child could be eligible for a rail or bus pass or a cycle allowance of £60 per term.
- And finally, talk to your kids about the options. Ask them what they’d enjoy most. Teenagers might want to take the bus or train alone to gain a sense of independence, and younger children might enjoy seeing their friends for a walk or bike ride in the morning.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to make school run more fun. We’d still love to hear your thoughts though, so share your ideas and help other Southend parents start the new school year with their best foot forward.