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I'm amazed at how many parents drive their kids to school

Friday, December 07, 2012

I live about a half mile away from the school, just far enough for the bus to pick them up, but still close enough to walk if we want. In the building I live, there are at least a dozen different families that have kids in the same school. There are only about 5 families that take the bus.

For some reason most of the parents would rather drive their kids to school. This morning I saw one parent walking their kid to the school as the bus was pulling up, they usually drive him.

I'm not sure the aversion to letting them ride the bus? I find it convenient to just drop them off at the bus stop and let them ride the 5 minutes to school. That allows me some extra me time in the morning because I'm not worrying about getting the kids off to school and having to get myself home again.

I did the math, there are 170 school days in the year (at least I think that's how many I counted), it's just over a half mile to school. So the parent would have to drive to the school, then home (I know for a fact some of them do, so that's why I'm doing this math). That is 1.6 miles in the morning, then again in the afternoon, so 3.2 miles a day wasted in gas money. It makes 360.4 miles in a year. Say the average car runs about 30 miles per gallon, that is 12.013 gallons of gas per year, just bringing the kids to and from school. At $3.50 per gallon average (yes gas is fairly cheap here and I rounded up to the average of the last year) the average parent is spending $42.05 a year just to bring that kid to school. (I think I did the math right?)

Now that may not sound like much to some, but that is a full weeks worth of meals to most of the parents that are doing this, we live in a low income area.

What can one do with that extra time and money from the 10 minutes and 1.6 mile each time? First off it's my sanity I'm preserving by letting someone else haul my kids off to school. By the time they're at school, I've walked most of the way around the park. I can invest that extra money into healthy foods that I would not be able to afford otherwise. That 10 minutes can get a good yoga session done. The 10 minutes can manage a video here on Spark People. The extra time can help you catch up on your reading. The extra 10 minutes can get a short blog written. The extra 10 minutes can get you caught up with a friend for the morning. The extra 10 minutes can cook you breakfast. That extra 10 minutes can get a shower done.

There are so many things that can be done in those 10 minutes that keep one's sanity as a parent. The kids will grow up, so let them be a little independent and allow yourself the time to keep yourself sane.

Don't waste time, make sure you're utilizing every moment that you can and allow others to help you through your life.
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  • KAREN608
    I grew up in Chicago and my brother & I always walked the 8 blocks to school, rain or shine, snow or sleet. We learned about planning for travel time, getting there at the right time, and got exercise as well. And we have happy memories, like us 'racing' along side an elevated train, running for the fun of it.
    1895 days ago
    I can understand on a case by case basis that there are real reasons for not allowing your child on the bus. The thing about from my place to the school is that it is within walking distance (20 minutes if you hit the lights wrong and with slow kids). It seems that many of these parents didn't even try the bus for the elementary schooled kids and if they never try, there is no bus experience for these kids. One kid in particular that I have met probably wouldn't be able to handle the bus ever, but the majority of kids can handle the short ride with only a few stops between here and there and this bus doesn't even fill up all the way.

    The only reason I can see to not walk the short distance is if it's really cold out (10* or less) or they're dropping the kids off on the way to work.

    About the bullying thing, it also happens at their recess. Kids will experience it at some point in their life and need to have the coping skills to deal with stupid people. Fortunately we have a school that will listen to the kids and plenty of no bullying policies in place. I know because I have been bullied in high school in front of teachers not doing anything, so I had to step up and take it to the principal myself (fortunately I had friend backup).

    I'm still amazed that half the kids with the ability to ride the bus from this particular stop do not utilize it.

    I hope that the majority of people have a safe ride to school.
    1896 days ago
  • -RAINE-
    I agree with those who mentioned bullying. I rode the bus for a few years and hated it, to the point that in high school I would intentionally miss it and walk home 8 miles instead of having to ride it. There was a group of boys then who were grabbing girls and sexually harassing them on the bus and nothing was done about it. I've heard LOTS of similar stories from both people who rode buses in the 90s and later and from parents of girls as young as 10 or 12, so it's not even rare.
    1896 days ago
    Times have really changed. We didn't have school buses where I lived and only the kids from another district, about three miles away, had bus service. My elementary school was a mile away, the middle school 1.5 miles away, and the high school two miles away, and I always walked to and from school. And my mother never walked with me, either.
    1897 days ago
    Yes,a lot can happen on a bus. I am a dispatcher for a schol bus and a limousine service.
    I get all kinds of complaints and the sad part is that a lot of parents don't realize that their child can be as bad as the one the rest of them.
    When children get together with 50 to 70 kids on a bus with only one adult and he or she has their back to them, Alot can happen.(out of sight they forget or get caught up with the others) Plus they have no fear of adults because they will tell you you can't do anything to me. SO, a lot of kids don't want to take the bus probably because they are being teased or bullied.
    It's sad because people really could save time and money by letting them ride the bus.
    Of ourse on the other hand, walking them to school is geat exercise if your close enough.
    1897 days ago
    Our school district did away with bus service for anyone living closer than 2 miles to the school, unless there's a major road without crossing guards or a train track or something in the way. So we haven't had bus service for several years now. We live exactly a mile from the elementary school, and about .75 miles from the middle school. Jason drives the kids to school in the morning and then goes straight to work. My oldest used to walk to the middle school, but decided he can get more studying in if he goes early when Jason is taking the other two to elementary school. All three of them walk home in the afternoons and have done so since they were old enough to do that (ie, last year). Before that, I would drive to the school and pick them up. Sometimes I would walk to get them, but they would be carrying heavy backpacks, plus several months of the school year, the temps are over 100 degrees in the afternoon, plus there are dogs running loose in our neighborhood. I wasn't a big fan of that walk with three kids who were too little not to panic if they saw a dog. Didn't want them running into the street! But things are okay now, and I like that they walk a mile every day home from school. :)
    1898 days ago
    It is amazing how much can happen on a bus ride. They are longer than we probably remember them being as kids because they are trying to use fewer buses to save money.

    I know one reason I drive instead of walking my kids is because of bone on bone arthritis. After 2 knee surgeries, including a partial knee replacement last month, I'm hoping I will be able to start walking them to and from school finally after 2 years of never ending pain. I am excited to both spend the time with them and also to include them on the added exercise it will give me.

    Good blog!
    1898 days ago
    I agree on Brooklyn_born. You would be surprised on what can happen on a 5 minute bus ride. Even riding their bike can be a problem. All 3 of my kids have had their tires punctured with push pins right in front of the school and I live in a very safe area. Some kids these days have no respect for other people or their possessions. Last night was one of the few nights my younger daughter walked home from school after a game. She usually catches a ride with a friend. There are also so many reports of kids being kidnapped just walking to the bus stop or home. I do encourage my kids to get themselves to school either walking or riding their bikes. Also some kids backpacks weigh around 30 lbs. I know my daughter's does and we go through 2 or 3 backpacks a year. I agree that if you have a bus that the kids feel safe riding have them go on it. Your reasons are sound. At the same rate the other parents may have a good reason too. emoticon
    1898 days ago
  • LADYJ6942
    Oh so true. At this stage of the came I'm thankful mine are grown and I don't have to worry about school buses anymore.
    1898 days ago
    I totally agree with you regarding both money and fitness. The only reason I can think of is that some kids may not feel safe on the bus. There have been enough reports of bullying that continue even after it has been reported. Often it's worse since the bully now feels untouchable.

    You say it's only a 5 min ride so safety seems an unlikely reason. Yet, I have heard some horror stories. Perhaps that's why the parent was walking with the child when the bus passed by? Not safe to send him alone either by bus or on foot?
    1898 days ago
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