Play, Talk, Walk.
With the start of the school year, so too starts the sport teams weekly practices and games. The kids like the organized activities. Depending on what you choose, there are benefits for language development, physical fitness and cultivating the fine arts.
Part of this is done to keep kids safe and to bridge times between when school ends and when our workdays end. Partially we, as parents, are guilty of giving in to societal pressures. We limit giving kids time to enjoy unstructured play.
Walking to school used to be the usual way most children in urban area’s got to school. But concerns about protecting our kids have intensified as roads have become busier. Today parents feel the community is less safe for our kids than when we were their age.
Our lives are busy but it’s been my experience that finding a way to walk to and from school with the kids pays off. Walking to school is a time when the kids get organized, in their own minds, as to what the day will bring. The walk home from school provides me with the opportunity to get all the highlights of their day. It’s usually a jumble of information all at once.
While walking there is no way to do homework, make dinner or clean the house. The focus is on getting from school to home or vice versa. The time is free flowing without other distractions.
On Friday, September 19, 2014 the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) will promote and encourage everyone to participate in the 9th RUN@WORK Day and the 3rd RUN School Day, a nationwide fitness effort to get people moving and getting fit. Walking to and from school helps do that. I believe it has other benefits.
1. There are moments of free flowing discussion.
We’ve sorted out hurt feelings, navigated difficult classroom social situations all through the opportunity it creates for these spontaneous conversations. The kids receive my emotional support and validation for their feelings in a calm atmosphere.
2. It promotes imaginative play.
The kids run, jump, race, hop, skip and chase. They engage in unstructured play. Occasionally we have tears but more often they race each other to meeting spots or pick up leaves, seeds and other natural treasures. I could not plan their adventures if I tried. They simply evolve because kids have the opportunity to be kids. They create their own play.
3. We engage with the world around us.
The common thread of walking results in our talking with older neighbors out walking their dogs. We develop strong connections with each other. We see, smell, hear and feel Mother Nature and unless it’s pouring rain or frigidly cold, we dress for the weather and walk.
We’re fortunate to live in an area where getting to and from school by walking or biking with the kids is possible. My purpose in doing it is selfish and I am unapologetic. I keep them under my wings, for a little while, letting them just be kids. They have a “breather” from the structured demands of society and school. We are distracted from the rigors of daily life. We listen. We share. We talk. We nurture our relationships.
Friday, September 19, 2014 join Road Runners Club Of America in the 3rd RUN @ School day. Walk there too!