Is a 20-30 minute walk too far for a 1st grader to get to school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just changed my daughters school.  Her new school is a 20 minute walk (for me, maybe more like 30 for her) away.  I have been taking her there and back in an umbrella stroller.  But I am wondering if I should be making her walk this instead?  Driving isn't an option because the whole drop off/pick up thing gives me crazy anxiety.  I know I could have walked this in first grade, but she is way more tiny than I was and has some special needs.  What do you mom's think?  Maybe make her walk in the mornings and bring the stroller in the afternoons?

 

Oh and she is technically supposed to be in second grade if that makes a difference.  Thanks :)


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#2 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 09:05 AM
 
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The walk to school and a stroller ride home sounds like a great starting point.  Then you can work towards walking halfway home, then dropping the stroller all together.  However, a first grader may be teased by the stroller.  Maybe an initial middle ground would be to drive half way, walk to pick her up, walk back to the car, and drive from there?

 

Walking a mile is well within the range of most kids who are given the chance to do it regularly, and will account for a lot of her daily need for exercise to be healthy.  Leave a lot of extra time in the morning, dress for the weather, take your time, and enjoy your walk together.

 

Walking also gives kids skills that they otherwise don't learn when driven around all the time.  Where you stand at the corner to wait for traffic, making eye contact with drivers, looking both ways, navigating and choosing a route, learning to leave enough time for the walk and to check the weather report...

 

I'm totally with you on crazy drop off/pick up lines at schools.  Ours is crazy, dangerous, and takes longer than walking!

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#3 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I keep telling her that she may get made fun of because of the stroller, and she really doesn't care.  I don't know if it's her special needs or just being independent or what.  I do kick her out of it and fold it up before we get too close to the school.  I like the idea of taking care of her exercise needs with the walk.  There are no parks or anything nearby, so we can use the extra exercise.  Luckily we are in CA, so the weather is really nice.  Thanks for the thoughts to ponder. :)


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#4 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 09:22 AM
 
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I don't know the particulars of her special needs but your average child can most certainly walk that distance comfortably. My two were able to handle 4-5 mile hikes in rough terrain as early as 3 and still have more energy than us at the end. We did 20-30 minute walks pretty regularly when they were 5-8 years old. They rarely walked to school because our rural neighborhood is not set-up for it (no sidewalks, lots of blind curves, ect.)

 

I think your idea of having her walk in the mornings only first is a great idea. Eventually, she'll be too embarrassed to be seen in a stroller and will want to walk it all.


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#5 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 09:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post Luckily we are in CA, so the weather is really nice.  Thanks for the thoughts to ponder. :)


lol.gif Which is why I initially typed -- and then deleted -- a bit about snow, ice, and wind chill.  winky.gif  Even still, you might want to get into the habit of checking the weather report to see if you should pack a rain coat or umbrella in anticipation of the walk home.  It was 17F this morning on our walk to school.  Please don't rub it in.

 

whatnextmom, yup, I agree, kids can walk a lot further that we tend to think they can, but a lot of kids need to do it regularly enough so that they are used to putting one foot in front of the other continuously in the same direction. ;) 

 

It makes me sad to hear when people want to walk to school but can't because of no place to walk.

 

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I agree with whatsnextmom. My dd (now 8) was running 3-5 miles at 7. She could hike double that. She's not particularly athletic, and is very small for her age (she's now 49 lbs). Of course I have no idea about your dd's special needs, but as for the question in your subject line about 1st graders in general, I say no, of course it's not too far. 

 

Could she get motivated about plotting her cumulative walking distances on a map? Is she at all goal-oriented like that? My dd would love a hand-drawn map showing the road between our house and the hot springs 55 miles north, where we would colour the route in red, mile by mile, as she walked miles to and from school. Then, when she had completed all 55 miles, we could go soak in the hot springs to celebrate. Just a thought.

 

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#7 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 11:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

It makes me sad to hear when people want to walk to school but can't because of no place to walk.

 


It's not so bad for us. I'm not comfortable with my kids walking to school due to the single and dangerous route available to them but where we live also offers nature trails and more free running space right outside the door than most kids. Many families can have horses and orchards. It's something you accept when you choose to live in a rural suburb... less safe street walking but more open and untouched land to explore. 

 

What I hate to see is when more urban areas and apartment complexes don't have safe ways to walk to schools and parks!


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#8 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 06:14 PM
 
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Could you try having her ride a small bicycle with training wheels while you walk along side?  That might be less tiring and probably wouldn't be something to be teased about.

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#9 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 06:19 PM
 
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My 6.5 year old can walk for that long, but probably wouldn't be willing to do it twice in a day (though physically he could).

 

Could you drive halfway and then walk the rest of the way?  I do that sometimes when I want us to have a little walk but not get stuck in the school pickup and drop-off craziness. 
 


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#10 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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Walk or have her ride something. I have seen kid tri's and bikes that have an optional bar attached so you can push.Even a step 2 wagon might be a better option.

 

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#11 of 39 Old 01-04-2012, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we are just going to stick with the stroller for now.  She really doesn't care at all what other people think and I don't mind the exercise.  I'd LOVE to ride bikes or teach her to ride a bike, but she is in no way ready for that yet.  Driving half way just isn't really an option based on the way that the streets around there are set up.  It would be just as stressful as going the entire way in the car.  I am sure she CAN walk it, but I doubt I will get her to this year at least.  It would be so much whining and complaining and dawdling...not worth it for now.  Guess we will just take it week by week and adjust when necessary.  Thanks for all the advice.


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#12 of 39 Old 01-05-2012, 11:48 AM
 
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How far is it exactly? I know you said it was a 20 minute walk for you, 30 for her. I know it takes me about 20 minutes to walk 2 miles with a stroller (but, that's with no traffic, red lights, or stops). Have you driven it or calculated the distance? I take it that you live so close there is no school bus to get on? I know you said she has some sn's. My brother had sn's and we lived too close for the bus to pick him up in elementary school. He got in so much trouble on those walks. Im sure you know whether or not she is capable of walking alone, but are there any friends that could walk with her?

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#13 of 39 Old 01-05-2012, 09:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post

I think we are just going to stick with the stroller for now.  She really doesn't care at all what other people think and I don't mind the exercise.  I'd LOVE to ride bikes or teach her to ride a bike, but she is in no way ready for that yet.  Driving half way just isn't really an option based on the way that the streets around there are set up.  It would be just as stressful as going the entire way in the car.  I am sure she CAN walk it, but I doubt I will get her to this year at least.  It would be so much whining and complaining and dawdling...not worth it for now.  Guess we will just take it week by week and adjust when necessary.  Thanks for all the advice.


Would she be able to do a tagalong bike?

 

another option would be to get her a 2 wheeled scooter in the spring as she gets older -- they're great prep for riding a bike because kids have to balance on the scooter, but it's not so high that it's intimidating. Our son (who has mild motor control issues and a lousy sense of proprioception) spent a year riding a scooter and transitioned fairly easily to a bike the next summer.


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#14 of 39 Old 01-06-2012, 05:14 AM
 
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Yes, I was also going to say a scooter. A lot of kids ride those to our neighborhood school and they're easy, even the two wheeled ones and the two wheeled ones really help with balance and coordination issues. Are her SNs physical? If so and she receives therapy you might ask her therapist what she recommends.

 

I agree that a typical first grader could easily walk 20-30 minutes. It would drive me crazy to try to do that with my kids because they're so slow in the mornings and we have homework or after school activities in the afternoons, but that's our issue. It's about a 40 minute walk to our school and my 2nd grader can do it easily, but if the weather is hot or cold or anything there is the potential for whining. What I did earlier this year when the weather was nice was to park nearer the school at a city park (there's not a great straight shot btwn our house and school anyway) and then walk from there. It cut the walk in about half and avoided the car pick up and drop off craziness. 

 

We gave our stroller away many years ago, maybe when my now 2nd grader was 2 or 3,  so that would never be an option for us anyway.


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#15 of 39 Old 01-06-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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We're only 5 blocks away from our school.   I drive them there and walk them home.  If we use the greenbelt it's only 5 minutes if we use the sidewalks it closer to 15 with the way DD2 walks.  DD2 once stopped at a city bus stop and told us she wasn't going any further the bus would have to get her.  She gets a lot of exercise as it is so I'm not too worried.  I just know morning movement is not her thing.

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#16 of 39 Old 01-06-2012, 06:59 AM
 
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My 5 year old can walk the 25 minutes to school without to many problems but is sometimes pretty tierd on the way home. On a few occasions when I've taken the pushchair he's fallen asleep on the way home, though he doesn't usually nap otherwise. Last year before he'd started school we took the puschair all the time when dropping off/picking up his sister, walking both ways was still too much for him.

 

While I'm not to worried  about him needing a ride I do worry about people commenting on the pushchair, If anyone makes a comment to me I just point out the number of people who drive to collect thier kids because they are tierd and that this is our alternative. So far the few people that have made a comment have said they haven't thought about it like that and not made any more comment.

 

We also have a bike trailer which has been great, the other kids in the playground think it's really cool and keep asking if they can have a ride so I'm not worried about teasign there. We recently got a tag along but I'm still getting used to cycling with it and it's not so great when he's tierd. Also I miss the space in the trailer for all the lunch boxes and stuff :lol

 

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We recently got a tag along but I'm still getting used to cycling with it and it's not so great when he's tierd. Also I miss the space in the trailer for all the lunch boxes and stuff :lol

 


You realize you can attach a trailer to a tagalong, lol?! When I had three kids under 7 I did this one whole summer. 18-month old and 3-year-old in the trailer with whatever payload we had along, and the 6-year-old on the tagalong "helping" me pedal. We called it our biketrain. 

 

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#18 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 05:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I know it takes me about 20 minutes to walk 2 miles with a stroller (but, that's with no traffic, red lights, or stops).

jaw.gif woah mama. are you a speed walker? dd and i walk that distance to school everyday and it takes us about an hour or at the most 50 mins. 
we dont speed walk coz that increases dd's anxiety. on top of that we both get shin splints. so just thinking of completing that distance in 20 mins (we DO have traffic, stop signs and red lights) - walking at the speed one has to accompalish that is just mind blowing. 

 


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When I was walking for exercise it took me 50 min to walk 3 miles- I could not imagine getting a child to walk that fast!

 


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#20 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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exactly!  I used to be able to do 3 miles in less than 35 minutes.  If a kids could run along side me then it could work.  Otherwise... HELL TO THE NO!
 

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When I was walking for exercise it took me 50 min to walk 3 miles- I could not imagine getting a child to walk that fast!

 



 

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#21 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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According to wiki: (I know, unreliable, but I couldn't get into the IAAF stats page for some reason)

 

World-class racewalkers (male and female) can average under seven and eight minutes per mile (or under four and five minutes per kilometre, respectively), in a 20 km (12 mi) racewalk

 

So walking 3 miles in 35 minutes or 2 miles in 20 minutes (with a stroller!) - very impressive! I think those are respectable paces for jogging/running. 

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#22 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 07:34 AM
 
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Yeah but not kids pace and def with a lot of practice.  I chose speed walking because It didn't hurt my back like running did.  Though I ended up having issues with my left glute

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#23 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

jaw.gif woah mama. are you a speed walker? dd and i walk that distance to school everyday and it takes us about an hour or at the most 50 mins. 
we dont speed walk coz that increases dd's anxiety. on top of that we both get shin splints. so just thinking of completing that distance in 20 mins (we DO have traffic, stop signs and red lights) - walking at the speed one has to accompalish that is just mind blowing. 

 


2 miles in 20 minutes would make for a pretty respectable time in a community 5k running race. 

 

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#24 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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jaw.gif woah mama. are you a speed walker? dd and i walk that distance to school everyday and it takes us about an hour or at the most 50 mins. 
we dont speed walk coz that increases dd's anxiety. on top of that we both get shin splints. so just thinking of completing that distance in 20 mins (we DO have traffic, stop signs and red lights) - walking at the speed one has to accompalish that is just mind blowing. 

 


Maybe I am a speed walker. Honestly, I walk the same 2 miles all the time, and I find it kind of boring so Im just trying to get there as soon as possible. However, it is on a country road, so like I said no traffic, no stop lights/signs, and no stops period. Its just to our neighbor's house and back I have a jogging stroller, maybe that helps? I dont know. But, Ive never had to deal with a kid moving around, asking questions, ect while I was doing it so I could totally see it taking double that with a school aged child, even longer in a city.

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#25 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 10:55 AM
 
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I think people's point here, Adaline'sMama, is that you likely overestimating the distance and underestimating the time.  You would know it if you walk faster than most runners.

 

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#26 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 01:13 PM
 
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I can do one mile in 20 minutes at a reasonably quick pace (not super fast), but I agree two miles in that time span would mean I was jogging.


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#27 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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Why does it matter how long she takes to walk 2 miles?  I've done 35 minute 3 miles.  When I was running consistently and I don't do marathons I could 6 minute or less miles.  Some people are just good runners from the start.  Some people are quick walkers as well.  I've always been a get things done kind of person and If I have to walk 2 miles you better bet I'm going to do it as fast as I can.  Having kids made me slow down but only a little as my oldest is just like me and little one will literally stop somewhere and ask us to come back for her.  

 

I don't know why you guys feel the need to question her about how fast she walks 2 miles.  She said it's her daily route, stop googling and try it for yourself.

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#28 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Why does it matter how long she takes to walk 2 miles? 

 

It doesn't, unless, as may be the case in a thread like this, we compare and extrapolate these times and distances to the ones being faced by the original poster's dd. That's clearly not at all a fair comparison, because not only is AdelinesMom an adult, and walking quiet rural roads, but more to the point because assuming her measurements are accurate she's walking at a speed that's close to double the walking speed of a typical adult, well beyond what would be considered "powerwalking" and more into the "racewalking" pace. 

 

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#29 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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Well, Im not standing by my statement 100% that its exactly two miles, but its pretty close. And Im not doing it daily right now at 37 weeks pregnant in Janurary, so its not like I can test it today smile.gif Im not going to argue with you about the time, because I used to work for my neighbors and I had to walk there everyday with DD, so I know how long it took. Racewalkers average 7-8 minutes a mile, not 10. But it really doesnt matter. Maybe me adding my walking time wasnt helpful for the point I was just trying to figure out how far away school was. My question to the OP was whether or not she had calculated the distance because Im wondering how far away from home the kid would be by herself, regardless of how long it takes to walk to school. Personally, I think a kid that age shouldnt really be more than about a mile away from home by themselves at any time. That's just my opinion. I dont have a kid that age, but Ive had several siblings that walked to school and I know it was always under a mile. How far is school? 1 mile? 2 miles? To me, asking if a 20-30 minute walk to school too far for a first grader leaves me wondering about the other factors. Im wondering what the distance is, how many stop lights/ intersections are on the way, if its a high traffic area, if there are lots of people around or is it a neighborhood where she might only pass one person on the way?

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#30 of 39 Old 01-12-2012, 03:11 PM
 
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I think the mom walks with her to school No one would send a 7 yo on a thirty min walk alone.

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