Know your neighbourhood
- December 1, 2021
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It's fun to get out and visit special destinations, but a lot of us neglect the gems that are right in our own backyard! Getting out and about in your local area has loads of benefits, including
- Increasing physical activity
- Getting to the know neighbourhood and the neighbours
- Increasing kids' independence and confidence
- Saving money on fuel and avoiding traffic and parking stress
It's about the journey
Leaving the car at home and exploring by foot, pedal or push power can be a fun way to explore the neighbourhood. Travel to local parks, sports grounds, play equipment and BBQ areas as a family. You may find safer off-road paths and shortcuts to your destinations that you would miss travelling in a car. There's also plenty of time to engage with the kids, laugh and talk – you could even play eye-spy or create games as you go.
Active transport to school
Riding and walking with the family in tow can be daunting initially but has big pay-offs! Here's our tips to help make getting to school stress-free:
- Talk: Chat to your kids about when and how they'll be travelling. Do they want to cycle, walk or ride?
- Plan: Decide which route you'll take. Consider quieter streets, those with designated paths and those with suitable surfaces for your chosen transport method.
- Check: Make sure any equipment is in good working order. Are the tires pumped? Does the helmet fit properly? Is everyone wearing appropriate clothes and shoes?
- Try: Do a test run of your journey as a family on the weekend. Try and replicate the school-day experience, including carrying backpacks and lunches etc.
- Accompany: In the beginning, accompany kids for the whole journey. As they gain confidence and road safety skills, shorten your trip and only accompany them part of the way, until everyone's comfortable that they can safely manage the trip alone.
- Invite: Are there others in the neighbourhood that are heading to the same school? Why not travel together?
We've got more information about active transport for kids and adults on the website.
Equipment such as prams, bike seats and strollers are great (and comfortable!) ways to include the whole family. Involving children in travel activities at an early age will help build their confidence, understanding, street safety and willingness to get out there as they become more independent. Lots of practice will help everyone feel more confident, and grow the skills needed to navigate your neighbourhood.
Make some noise
Not all neighbourhoods make it easy to be active or eat well. If you want to help spread the healthy lifestyle message, here are some tips to get family, friends and community on board;
Tips to get family, friends and community into a healthy lifestyle
- A little effort goes a long way!
Role modelling is effective not only for your own family, but for peers as well. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. People believe it when they see it!
- Get involved in community groups
School P&Cs, local clubs, sports committees, or even your workplace! Event catering, fundraising, and sponsorship are just some of the areas on which promoting healthy choice can have a widespread positive influence.
- Encourage healthy parties
Check out LiveLighter’s healthy party planning blog post. Encourage friends to provide healthy options at their parties.
- Get involved in organised events
Support organised events by participating in days such as Walk to School, Ride to School, or Walk to Work and Ride to Work days. Check out programs and organisations in your area that advocate for better community infrastructure to support active living.