Now that school is starting through pretty much the entire United States, I just have to ask – are your kids walking to school? Riding a bike? Why or why not?
For my family, walking is an easy option. School is just a few blocks away. I’ve walked there in about a minute less than it takes my next door neighbor to drive there. That’s car loading and unloading time!
But there’s a huge backup of people driving their kids to school in my area, and around most schools I’ve ever been by at times when parents are dropping kids off or picking them up.
I know it can be hard to fit walking time into a busy schedule, especially if both parents work or there are younger siblings. Believe me, I’ll be feeling more of that pinch when this baby comes. Two younger siblings to bring along just to get my daughter!
Things do get easier, of course, as kids get old enough to walk or ride bikes on their own to school. Many parents these days are overprotective because we hear so much about what can go wrong. The thing about it is that the worst happenings are rare. Only the fact that we get pretty nearly instant national news makes some things seem like a major problem. Hearing about crime on the news has been proven to make people worry more about it, even when the crime rate goes down.
That doesn’t mean you ignore the risks. It means you teach your kids how to minimize them. All the usual things about how to cross streets safely, avoid strangers and so forth that we teach our kids are skills they should be putting into practice once they’re old enough.
I don’t suggest having kindergarten age kids walking home alone. I do recall my sister and I doing that when she was in kindergarten and I was in preschool, but that was because the older kids who were supposed to walk with us ran off ahead.
I think it’s important to remember that the more responsibilities you give children, the more chances they have to learn to be responsible.
And of course, walking and biking are far better for your health and the health of your children than going in the car. With all the crowds of people driving to school, it can be less frustrating as well.