... is that too much to expect from a 3rd grader?
if you hike or just go for walks, what distances do your children walk?
I think that would be fine to walk everyday for an 8 year old if you're not worried about traffic, etc. In my neighborhood, walking around the "big block" is 1 mile and my kids have been able to do that pretty easily for years. It's also very hilly and curvy. We walk more than that with some frequency. We walk to the HFS co-op which is probably about 4 miles for fun on the weekend sometimes (it's too long of a walk to make it much use for actual grocery shopping). We walk in the woods hikes of various lengths. I think an 8 year old should be able to do 2 miles pretty easily. My kids are not athletes, either! They're just normal, slightly uncoordinated, kids who don't seek out physical challenges.
My little brother hiked the Grand Canyon at 8years old. 8 miles down the south Kaibob trail, and 10 miles up the Bright Angel trail. He weighed approximately 35lbs at the time (he was 8weeks pre-mature when he was born, so he was super tiny for a long long time).
ETA - just in case any of you think it was forced, it wasn't. My dad was perfectly willing to carry him up, and was prepared to (had a pack for him and everything) but he just walked the entire way.
I would not expect an 8 year old who has not been walking to school previously to walk 2 miles to school 5 days a week. I would, however, expect that an 8 year old with the habit of walking - both habits with respect to safety as well as habits of keeping moving at a reasonable pace - to be able to walk.
My 8-yo can walk 2 miles, no problem. I also wouldn't have a problem with them walking that much to and from school each day. Now, I probably wouldn't want them walking that amount unsupervised each day, but the actual walking wouldn't be a problem. In fact, it sounds like a great way for a child to get fresh air and exercise each day. The amount of supervision I would require would depend on things like traffic, the layout of the street, etc.
I might also have concerns depending on climate as well..if it's really cold (especially in the mornings), etc.
2 miles for an eight year old? I would be concerned if an 8 year old *couldn't* do it. A child at that age should have the stamina to walk/hike even farther on a regular basis. My son is 9 and easily walks the equivalent of 4 miles day as part of everyday life. In the nice weather he probably walks even farther.
As a child I walked 1.5 miles to the bus stop starting in kindie. I walked it by myself starting in 2nd grade. On top of that I took modern dance, rode my bike everywhere and did other physical things. Of course I wasn't allowed to watch TV and there were no video games so most activities involved being physical.
Around here a lot of parents walk with their kids. I think that's what I would do if it were my 8 yr old, or trade off having other adults in the neighborhood walk with the kids. I would be a little concerned about traffic, etc.
Would this be 1 mile twice a day (1 mile to school and 1 mile home)? If so, I think that's beyond reasonable. I would certainly encourage that in my child. I think when I was a kid I regularly rode my bike about 3 miles to the neighborhood school and 3 miles back in the afternoon in the fall and winter and spring. I'd actually feel guilty to drive that distance when I could walk it. I always make my kids walk to our neighborhood pool in the summer unless we're planning to go somewhere else straight from the pool. Now, if I had to drive to work or somewhere anyway then I could see picking my kid up and dropping them off, or if they really wanted to ride the bus I'd let them, but I don't think school buses in our area will pick up kids who live less than a mile from school.
If it's 2 miles in the morning and 2 miles in the afternoon I think that's still doable although I might be inclined to take them on bad weather days.
Which is just 3/4 of the daily recommendation for aerobic exercise for a school-aged child. According to the CDC, this child would still need an additional 15 minutes.
My ds could have walked 2 miles at a go at that age but he wouldn't have been happy about it if it was just a getting from here to there sort of thing. And I'm not sure he could/would do it in only 45 minutes. I think it takes me 40 minutes walking briskly with my short legs and ds walks considerably slower. He's much happier with those sorts of walks when they are nature hikes with friends. I would have avoided putting him in a situation where that much daily walking was necessary.
My 6 yo dd walks that far to school almost every day and some days home as well. Occasionally I do drive her if it is really bad weather. My 4 yo ds accompanies me on the walk and then home so he logs in almost 4 miles a day. We are trying to use our bikes more now that the weather is starting to break. Of course, we have always hiked, walked, biked, etc.
I would not have my 8 yo child walking back and forth to school that far on their own though. Not because I would be worried about kidnapping or whatever, but I could see my kids getting sidetracked, losing track of time and consistently being late to school.
the reason why i asked is because i think dd is the only child that walks that distance in her elem. school. the older kids like 6th graders take the bus. it seems in our area its not the socially acceptable thing to walk such distances to school. hiking or a reason to walk is ok. not walking to school.
i walk with dd. however i wish there were other kids from this neighbourhood walking or taking the bus with dd. i know she would love that. no adults - just other 5th and 6th graders. she is in 3rd
both of us face a lot of raised eyebrows for walking that distance from parents and other kids.
sometimes we take the bus but most days we are on a new adventure (we just moved here a month ago).
yes it does get boring for dd when its getting from place a to b. which is why some mornings we take the bus. or bad weather.
it does take us 50 mins.
on the way back sometimes we stop at the park and have a picnic. we are walkers. dd is a high energy girl and she used to walk 2 miles when she was 18 months old to play at the park. (a mile to and a mile back) i really enjoyed that with her. it would take us 45 mins a mile coz she was constantly exploring. even in big cities there are cracks and rocks and bricks to check out.
Good grief, we walk 0.3 miles to school, and we get lots of raised eyebrows.
As a point of reference, the CDC Healthy People goal is that 50% of kids who live within a mile to school walk, and 5% of kids who live within 2 miles rides a bike.
It might be a bit of prejudice against not having a car. I've run into that. It's ok to exercise to exercise but walking to school or riding your bike to work is another matter to some, lol.
geofizz your CDC stats have been very interesting. sheesh i am surprised you face the raised eyebrows too for that distance.
so here is the issue. i think parents all feel they'd rather sign up their child for sports to get that exercise rather than walk to school. well of course many just dont have that kind of time at that hour.
your stats blows me away. do they expect an hour of continous activity? i cant see any child doing that unless they are in soccer once or twice a week.
ugh!! the reason why we dont bike is coz i have yet to learn how to ride a bike. and i am still pushing that notion away. i have terrible balance.
I've been doing a lot of work with our school for the federal Safe Routes to School program. I've done the data collection for our school, worked with the engineers to make the community safer (and fix basic stuff like getting cross walks that look like cross walks), and worked with the police and LAB instructors for cycling safety instruction.
In writing those reports, I'm keen on putting our data in context with the federal standards. CDC is my go to source.
The recommendation is for 60 minutes of total exercise a day. It doesn't have to be all at once. Two 15 minute recesses and a half hour of recess at lunch could be sufficient. Our school provides that for our delicate orchids when the weather is warm and dry. Otherwise they have "indoor" recess, where they can draw or play board games. <Sigh> I'd be willing to bet that kids who are getting their exercise entirely from a twice weekly soccer team aren't getting close to that amount.
FWIW, when I get questioning from other parents, I tend to respond not from the perspective of exercise, but from the perspective of teaching basic life skills. I want my kids to know how to cross the street, navigate a neighborhood, learn how to dress appropriately, make it on time to a destination, and to learn that it is possible to get around in the world without a car. I tend to say it in a bit of a "kids these days" tone by describing what I see amongst the 20 year old students at my university. Few know to look when they cross the street, many send me emails saying they can't get to my class because their car broke down and they're coming from <a neighborhood a mile from campus>.
I also point out to parents that it takes practice and time to learn to keep your feet moving towards your goal. Starting to walk a mile never having done so can be tough. Not so much from the exertion, but from the continued regular motion. It does take practice. It's not an expectation that's out of line, though, if a child is taught and allowed to get used to it.