Why putting my kids on the bus every morning is a choice I make, not just because it’s practical.
Yes, pickup times can be early. And yes, sometimes the bus is late. And of course, I worry about my kids getting teased by the older kids on their bus; but putting my kids on the bus every morning is a choice I make for a lot of reasons, not just because it’s practical.
- Walking to and from the bus stop with my boys is quite possibly the most productive quality time I spend with them. A time in our day that is not driven by routines or schedules — just listening to the birds chirp, kicking chunks of ice back and forth, and collectively waiting for a glimpse of those blinking lights from behind the hill. As we linger, they usually end up mentioning things from school — things they are working on, issues they may be having with a friend, all things I know I wouldn’t be able to hear about by the time they get home from a long day at school.
- Picking your child up from school can be a nightmare! Tons of parents standing around looking for their kids, lots of minivans trying to squeeze into street parking spaces which are otherwise supposed to be for buses, teachers yelling, children running. If there’s one thing I think we can all agree on, it’s that elementary teachers have enough on their plate, and playing parent/child matchmaker at the end of what is already a long day can’t possibly be one of their favorite things to do.
- Kids today spend way too much time in the car. On average, they spend 45 minutes per day as passengers of automobiles. Not only is this the most dangerous 45 minutes of a child’s day, it doesn’t enable them to explore. Instead, they are strapped into a car seat, watching the backs of our heads. Mike Lanza, author of Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into A Place For Play makes this point ever so eloquently in his a chapter titled “Don’t Drive When You Can Walk or Bike.”
“When adults and children walk together, they are equals.” —Mike Lanza
What’s Climate Change Got To Do With It?
Last but certainly not least, perhaps one of the most important reasons why I believe riding the bus is important, is because we can all play a role in reducing carbon emissions.
If we want to raise the next generation of environmentally-conscious adults, we need to teach them the importance of things like public transportation; and not just through our words, but through our actions. Riding the bus to school, as well as walking or riding bikes to the library, or piano lessons couldn’t be the more perfect place to start.
I recognize, and fully support the fact that some children, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to ride the bus to school. And that is exactly why those who can ride the bus, should. Making room in the drop-off and pick-up lines makes it easier for school staff and caretakers alike to facilitate transportation for children who truly require a ride to and from school.