School walk - how far is too far?

(18 Posts)
Stumbelina Wed 04-Jun-14 14:06:56

DD1 has been allocated a place at a school across the other side of town about 1.3 miles from our house. It's a bit of an awkward distance as would take 25 minutes to walk (or more with a toddler) and 6 minutes in the car according to Google maps. My question is, is it too far to expect a 5 year old to walk everyday? I know she will be tired but I really wanted her to be able to walk to and from school as aside from being healthier, I hate being tied to using the car (we live in a tourist area with rubbish parking).

Does anyone have experience of this and would I be better of just accepting the inevitable daily drive?

redskyatnight Wed 04-Jun-14 14:14:49

25 minutes is fine! You will likely spend some of the way walking with other parents/children (or soon get to know the ones that go the same way as you) and the time will go by quickly. Remember you can go slow on the way home. Or consider a bike/scooter if the school allows it.

I'd also bet that the 6 minute drive will take much longer in school run traffic and/or you may end up having to park miles from school.

coppertop Wed 04-Jun-14 14:18:13

As long as it's a reasonably safe route, it should be fine. I found the morning walk (similar distance) was very good at helping to wake dd up a bit more so that she was alert and ready for school.

SoonToBeSix Wed 04-Jun-14 14:19:37

I don't think it's too far but could your dd stand on a buggy board for part of the way?

BertieBotts Wed 04-Jun-14 14:20:18

YY scooter and/or pushchair for toddler helps. I think that's fine. Generally 3 miles is considered to be the maximum "reasonable walking distance" isn't it? I think that's a bit too far to walk twice a day but hey.

BertieBotts Wed 04-Jun-14 14:20:43

You could take the car if it was pissing it down, that's what my mum used to do.

BarbaraPalmer Wed 04-Jun-14 14:22:56

we walk exactly a mile

it takes 20mins in the morning when we are bright eyed and bushy-tailed, and more like 30 in the afternoon. It's not much slower than driving in the mornings, when you consider parking and walking a few more minutes. dd1 did take a little training up in order to be able to do it at a reasonable pace.

ChunkyPickle Wed 04-Jun-14 14:23:38

That's fine isn't it? My primary school was only 20 minutes walk away, but that included a hill - every kid in the village did it (my walk was neither the shortest, longest or hilliest)

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 04-Jun-14 14:27:09

The time it may be hard is after a long day at first.
It's not the ability to walk the distance then -its their willingness to especially if its bad weather.
I used to play I spy a lot as a distraction technique and allow time for rests to look for ladybugs etc.

Nocomet Wed 04-Jun-14 14:27:42

2 miles under 8years, 3 miles over 8 for a free bus pass.

We live 2.9 miles from school. I probably could have contested it on safety grounds, but the bus route was silly and I quite liked getting out the house.

1.3 miles is very much in the drive on wet days stroke in on dry days category.

It's the sort of walk you'll do more in summer and more with an older DC who can scooter or bike.

My DDs would do the village one mile sign as a recreational walk with minimal moaning, but the three miles round the block caused DD2 to declare her legs defective and DHs shoulders essential.

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 04-Jun-14 14:28:23

It'll be 6 miles for you.
Lovely but very time consuming!

Nocomet Wed 04-Jun-14 14:31:50

Also it's going to take you an hour there and back by the time you've dropped off and seen DCs into school.

That gets wearing. I do a lot of taxiing older DCs about and the 10-15 mile into town with traffic stuff takes that sort of time and it gets a bit irritating.

fingersonbuzzers Wed 04-Jun-14 14:32:14

I think it'll be fine for your DD1 but (depending on your toddler's personality) could be a bit of a pain if/when you're toddler is out of the buggy.

You've always got the car as back up though?

ouryve Wed 04-Jun-14 14:33:01

You could compromise by just doing the drive in the morning, when time is more pressing (and the tourists haven't finished their cooked breakfasts, yet), or when the weather's bad, until her stamina builds up.

FleurdeHeadLys Wed 04-Jun-14 14:36:28

That's fine, as long as you have bad weather contingency plans.

I would also bring her a snack to eat- they get so hungry!

TheLastQuestion Wed 04-Jun-14 14:39:21

Sounds like it should be fine for you, but in case you do find it a struggle you may have a third option if you can find any safe, free and legal places to park halfway along your route.

We live 2 miles from our primary. I work in the mornings (so not enough time to walk back home and get car) plus the first 0.7 miles is a narrow untarmaced pavement (no room to supervise bikes or holding hand and scooters don't 'scoot'). I drive into the village with the scooters in the boot, park at the church then the DC and I (aged 4 and 5) walk/scoot the last bit (just over half a mile I think? It takes us 12 minutes with the children on scooters). My youngest is still nursery and has an earlier pick up so with 3 school runs a day and working every morning walking there and back each time is not feasible. Parking and walking/scooting is a great alterative for us.

LadySybilVimes Wed 04-Jun-14 14:40:13

Its perfectly possible for a 5 year old. Even a toddler could do it, they just have to get used to walking. Due to my health issues my eldest walked everywhere from being 2.5, yes they get tired, but they can do it. You just have to leave a lot more time to do things in. It isn't easy sometimes, in fact it can be awful when one of them is tantrumming and you haven't left enough time, or they want to look at a ladybird and you need to be somewhere. However my kids still talk about the things we used to do whilst walking along - song singing, letter/number/word spotting, etc and they are teenagers now.

Stumbelina Wed 04-Jun-14 15:09:33

Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond. I think the message I'm picking up is be flexible. I was thinking I might just mix it up a bit, aim for walking/scooting at the start of the week and in good weather then use the car towards the end of the week and in the rain. It all sounds fairly obvious but I have been a bit blown off course by getting this particular school as it is actually the furthest from our house and I was naively expecting to get the one that was closer. I guess I have a lot to learn about school allocation policies. Luckily there is only one Secondary school in the area so hopefully I won't have to go through this again.

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