Tag Archives: school

Walking to School Encourages Children’s Independence and Responsibility

My kids have been back in school a couple of weeks now, walking themselves there without me. They’ve always walked to school, as we live within a quarter mile of their school, but in years past one or the other has been at an age where I had to handle the pickup. Now they’re old enough to walk on their own. This, I believe, is great for their independence and responsibility.

I did walk them the first two days of school. Those are the days when everyone’s getting used to the school, and things were just plain hectic around the school. We had people parking their cars around the corner from our house because the school lot and the rest of the neighborhood was so full. Even more so than the rest of the school year, I refuse to drive them the first days because we’d end up parked in our own driveway for the best possible spot.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy letting them walk on their own. Parents taking their kids to school are sadly not always the most alert for pedestrians, even when those tend to be other children. But I’ve taught my kids to be extra careful crossing near the school, and fortunately there are often other students and parents crossing at the same time.

That’s just one way walking to school encourages independence and responsibility. They have to decide when to cross a rather busy street to get to school. The street is only busy during the times people are dropping off or picking kids up, but during those times it’s really busy.

They’re also responsible for getting to school on time this way. Once they’re out that door, they can’t rely on me to remind them to keep moving, no matter what neat things they want to investigate on the way.

I also see benefits in how happy my kids are. They’re so proud to walk to and from school on their own, something I was allowed to do much younger. They have house keys for on the off chance that I’m not home when they get there (I don’t expect that to happen, but one can’t always plan for things) or if I lock the door and don’t hear the doorbell. They’ve had those for a while, actually, but now they have more chance that they’ll actually be used.

I know that we’re lucky. Not everyone lives all that close to their children’s school, or in neighborhoods safe enough to allow kids to walk there on their own. We have these advantages, and so mine walk rather than get driven to school. It’s fun, healthy and saves quite a bit of gas. Given the amount of traffic I’d have to get through, it’s also faster than driving them to school in our situation.

This is something I really encourage. Having kids walk to school has a lot of benefits. It’s really worth it if it’s a possibility for your family.

How to Make School Lunches Your Child Will Eat

Many parents these days are concerned with the quality of lunches provided by public schools. To put it mildly, many schools offer extremely unhealthy foods for lunch. As parents who want their kids to eat better, how can you help them?

Packing a healthy lunch for your child is one of the simplest things you can do to help them eat better. The challenge is making a lunch they’re more likely to eat than to trade away to friends.

Pay Attention to Their Likes

The first thing to do is know what your child likes to eat. This may change from year to year and even in the middle of the school year. Keep talking to your kids about what they like to eat for lunch and find healthy ways to provide that.

School lunch packing is not the best time to experiment or challenge your child’s food preferences. It’s easy for them to trade away unliked foods, or even to just throw it away uneaten. Push their interests at home where you can see the results.


Sometimes leftovers are great for lunches. You may need to provide a thermos to keep the food warm, but other leftovers taste great cold.

If there’s a meal your kids really love, make extras that you can separate into easy lunches and freeze. You can save excess for dinners for the whole family as well, of course. Providing them with favorite home cooked meals to eat at school may increase the chances that your child will eat what you’ve given them.


Don’t stick to the traditional sandwiches for every meal. Wraps are a great alternative, so long as you pick healthy whole grain tortillas, not just white flour tortillas.

Wraps are easy to make. You want to cover most of the tortilla, but leave a little distance from the edges to keep things neat. Lunch meats, vegetables and spreads work well. Mix them up and find out which your kids love the most. Do let your kids try hummus sometime, first at home, but if they like it, hummus is a great wrap ingredient.

Healthy Sides

Know what your kids love in terms of fruits and vegetables. Most will have a few favorites. Try to provide these in their school lunches.

My kids love bell peppers and cucumbers, for example. Put these in their lunch and they’ll usually be eaten.

Keep it Simple

Kids don’t need a feast at lunchtime. They need simple, filling foods and not a big selection. They’re usually as interested in chatting with their friends as they are in eating their food. Sometimes more interested in chatting with their friends. Give them too many choices and a lot of it will end up in the trash.

Dessert Doesn’t Have to Mean Sugar

Kids love getting a dessert item in their lunches. An occasional cookie or other treat isn’t going to ruin them either. But the dessert doesn’t have to be cookies or candy.

Berries work great. Granola bars usually have a lot of sugar, but have other healthy ingredients. Try to balance sweetness with good for your kids.

Variety May Not Be the Spice of Life

Don’t feel bad if you’re packing the same lunch over and over. Most kids like consistency. If they complain, that’s the time to mix things up.

The Advantages of Walking the Kids to School

Yes, I know not everyone can walk their kids to school. It can be too far or just not fit in your schedule. But if you can find a way to make it work, there are a lot of advantages.

While it’s only at its worst for many schools at the start of the year, posts such as The Car Rider Circle of Hell are a great reminder of just how much of a pain it can be to pick the kids up after school in a car. It’s not a pretty sight.

Things aren’t that bad for my daughter’s school, which started last week. However, we did have cars parked all the way up to our house, 3 blocks away from the school for both the morning drop off and the pick up in the afternoon.

Obviously at that distance we walk. It would probably take more time to drive there.

Walking even part of the way has a lot of advantages over driving to the school. If you’re too far to walk, parking a short distance and walking the last bit still has some of the advantages.

1. Saving gas.

If you sit with your car idling while you wait in line to drop the kids off or pick them up, you’re wasting fuel.

2. Exercise.

Short distance or long, walking to the school means you’re getting some exercise.

3. Possible time savings.

This one depends on the situation at your particular school, but walking up to the school can mean you get in and out faster than the parents who drove there and are waiting in line. Doubly true the first few days of school, when more parents drive to the school.

4. Get to know other parents.

It’s really hard to talk to other parents when you’re all in cars. Get out and walk up however far the school allows parents to go and you have a chance to meet some of the other parents. This can be really great if you get to know the parents of your children’s friends.

5. Time to talk to your kids.

Yes, you can do this in the car too, but walking together can be particularly conducive to conversation. The walk to school last year was a special time for my husband and daughter to talk, for example.

Can you think of advantages I’ve missed?

Sharing a Nest

My husband and daughter made a fun discovery on the walk to school last week – a huge crow’s nest that had blown down in the heavy winds the day before.

They took it to her class, to her classmates’ and teacher’s delight. It took my husband several minutes to get away. Something about bringing a nest that is about a foot and a half in diameter into a room full of first graders makes a man really popular. Maybe even more so than bringing a baby into the room.

That nest is still making the rounds at her school. We thought we’d be picking it up today, but it’s gone out to yet another teacher. We don’t mind, as all we want to do with it is drop it in the field to decompose as it would have if it hadn’t been discovered. It gets a bit smaller as it goes, just due to the wear and tear from being passed around. It’s been in at least 3 classrooms so far.

My daughter’s class had a lot of fun exploring the bits of eggshell that were still in the nest.

My one regret will be if we don’t get a picture of my daughter with the nest. That’s the one disadvantage to it being found on the way TO school. With a bit of luck we’ll see it again someday and it might still be in good enough condition to take a picture of my daughter holding it. She’s so proud of that find.