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Am I being unspeakably cruel to make DD walk 1.6 miles to school?

(62 Posts)
OrangeSpacedust Sun 18-Jul-10 12:13:15

MIL and a few others think I am. DD starts in September and we've done a trial run on the walk, which takes 30 minutes each way. MIL was horrified, saying "she'll be exhausted by the time she's there and fall asleep in class! And walking all that way will be so boring!" ... or words to that effect.

Personally, I want to get her in the habit NOW of walking every day, not getting driven, and I feel, well, what would we rather be doing than getting exercise and just being together, talking about all the things we see along the way etc etc ... sitting in front of the TV?! DH works pretty flexible hours so in the depths of winter we would be able to drive rather than battle through a horizontal snowstorm.

DD did say herself that the walk was "very long", but I just assumed she'd get quickly get used to it, but am having a wobble though, that it might be too much for a 5-year-old ... AIBU??

fluffles Sun 18-Jul-10 12:16:07

is she walking home too? if so i think she will end up shattered.

at that age i was driven (car share with neighbours) that distance to school and walked back again.

by age about 8/9 i walked both ways.

Igglybuff Sun 18-Jul-10 12:17:59

Maybe you could walk some days not others? Or walk one leg of the journey? She'll probably be sitting down for a lot of the day at school anyway.

My mum used to take me and my brother out walking all the time at that age - I don't remember being tired (I could have a selective memory though). I think it's great you're getting her walking so yanbu.

CarGirl Sun 18-Jul-10 12:18:15

Well I don't think you are because we walk as much as possible and my youngest did the trip to school and back 3 times per day from the age of 2 and very rarely got in the pushchair - it was a mile each way!

I would suggest you get her a scooter though it's much quicker! Mine scooter and I cycle these days.

Nancy66 Sun 18-Jul-10 12:19:55

Rather than the distance i'd be more worried about the pressure it puts you under.

What if you're running late one morning - and you then have to do a 30 minute walk in 20 mins etc...

1.6miles in 30 mins with a 5yr old sounds very ambitious. I live a 3/4 of a mile from my railway station and it takes me 13-15 minutes of brisk walking.

I don't think it's cruel but i think it's potentially very stressful - what about in the winter when it's pissing down?

LostArt Sun 18-Jul-10 12:20:25

Be prepared for it to take way longer than 30 minutes, especially after school. Could she used a bike or scooter?

I bet you'll be using a car/bus more than you think!

toccatanfudge Sun 18-Jul-10 12:22:03

I don't think that's unreasonable.

Nancy - you must be a slow walker grin - we used to live 0.9 miles from the school and it would take my DS's 15 minutes to walk it normally, 20 ambling along gently and the record in a rush was 11 minutes

Nancy66 Sun 18-Jul-10 12:23:36

...maybe I am a slow walker!

ThatDamnDog Sun 18-Jul-10 12:24:21

DS will be 3 next week and we regularly do walks that long, sometimes a couple of times a day, and he manages without complaint. So I can't imagine it being that bad for a 5 year old. I think it's a great example to set her and if you have the time (and especially if, as you say, you have the option of using the car if necessary) why on earth wouldn't you? Soon she'll be old enough to use a bike and you can cycle with her too

sarah293 Sun 18-Jul-10 12:28:51

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nickschick Sun 18-Jul-10 12:29:32

When we lived in the country we walked a loooooong way to school ,no buses and not many cars to get lifts from occasionally we got lifts in tractors and trucks grinand at the time i thought it very hard for my little dc sad but we made it fun and had names for parts of the journey (mouse house,a big house that always had mice scampering near the bushes)glove corner(cos wed lost gloves and found them there twice) etc etc....we met several interesting people too an elderly vicar who used to walk partway with us and whod tell the boys of various saints etc and people in his congregation,sometimes people would wave to us and they became part of our 'journey' (in fact we collected 7 easter eggs on the way to school at easter)- it was hard going in the winter and in the rain sad,but now my dc are teens and we live back in 'real life' they speak of these days fondly.

I lost tons of weight and toned up greatly,the dc were v healthy with few colds and rosy cheeked they slept well and school work didnt suffer.

However we had no choice.

edam Sun 18-Jul-10 12:31:11

She might be very tired after school for the first couple of weeks, so worth having the car just in case.

edam Sun 18-Jul-10 12:33:28

But agree with you that the walk to school or back is a great time to chat and enjoy any spiders/woodlice/dogs/sticks/other stuff that is apparently fascinating for small children. Going by my ds, anyway! And it's nice as presumably other children will be walking too - ds loves running along with his mates playing spies or whatever.

RustyBear Sun 18-Jul-10 12:35:22

DS used to walk 1.75 miles each way to and from playgroup when he was not quite 4 - it didn't seem to have any noticeable effect on his energy levels once he got home! DD on the other hand always hated walking and would complain about half a mile. They are still pretty much the same now they are 22 and 20, DS walks everywhere & will often refuse a lift even when offered, while DD will take any lift going...

megapixels Sun 18-Jul-10 12:36:32

Well dd1's school is a little further (45 minutes walk) and even now in Year 3 I don't make her walk to school, only back. She does get quite tired after the walk, so I don't think it's the ideal start to her school day. It depends on your dd really, you know her best so you're probably right. You can always change your mind if you think it's not working out.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 18-Jul-10 12:37:09

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NonnoMum Sun 18-Jul-10 12:39:55

Good luck. I've been surprised at how many people are amazed at how far we walk in the morning (it's one mile!)

Don't underestimate how shattered they get in their first term of school. Sometimes I put my DC in a pram for the way home (flame me - but I thought I'd rather that than burning unnecessary petrol). And she had only just turned four...

And then I found a scooter has helped, but they need to be fairly used to it, or they can scoot off the pavement...

And when "Walk to School Week" comes around, you will be inundated with reward stickers etc!

nickschick Sun 18-Jul-10 12:45:29

It was we think just over a mile and a half to our ds school.

Nonno mum I agree that the buggy was a good move even if just to pile all the school stuff into etc.

When I had ds3 I had a very old fashioned silver cross with a big wheel and a little wheel smile and both ds used to take turns riding in the shopping tray smile.

sarah293 Sun 18-Jul-10 12:46:15

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JaneS Sun 18-Jul-10 12:53:03

I have really nice memories of being picked up from school in the car by my mum - it felt like such a luxury because otherwise we walked! And actually I think that's a nice thing and a good habit to get into - car doesn't have to be used just because it's there.

Are there other mums walking the same way? It's somehow much more fun to walk when you have a mate with you.

BeerTricksPotter Sun 18-Jul-10 12:57:02

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reallytired Sun 18-Jul-10 13:02:12

I think that 1.6 miles each way is achievable for a five year old in good weather. Is there the option of taking the bus, if the weather is really awful and your child is deadly tired?

I would invest in one of those fold up scooters. It might save your sanity.

I suspect that many parents would be too lazy to do that kind of walk. Especially as they would have walk twice the distance of the child.

megapixels Sun 18-Jul-10 13:40:29

Yes sometimes the problem is how much the parent has to walk! Twice the distance is quite manageable. It's when you have younger children in nursery that it gets tiring. I do the 45 minute home to school walk five times a day [tired].

sago Sun 18-Jul-10 13:46:14

when my dc2 was 4 we had a long commute to school (long story, but living abroad and only option) which we did as follows- 20 min walk, 15 min train ride and another 20 min walk. And same again in pm. She managed- was tired but she would have a nap when we got home.
We love to be out and about and on the weekends she would often go for a 2 hr walk with us quite happily.
Scooter or bike sound good.
And maybe a snack for the way home.
And, if you think you need it, the buggy to help out too...that way she can walk a bit, ride a bit, depending on how she feels.

moajab Sun 18-Jul-10 14:08:56

When my DS2 was at pre-school he had to walk ten minutes to take his brother to school and then another twenty minutes to his pre-school. He ould then walk home again (about 20 mins) at lunchtime. Quite often we would go out somewhere in the afternoon when he would again walk for about twenty minutes, then however long back to school to collect his brother. People were always amazed at how far he would walk, but he didn't know any different. Unfortunatly now he's at school he's out of the habit of long walks and moans even on short walks! But I miss our walks every morning and afternoon - it was a lovely time for a chat.

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