It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Spring! Get out of that damned car!

Yes, there is still snow mounded in the front lawns of houses across the street (though not on my side of the street, which gets the morning sunlight). The air is crisp in the mornings, hovering just above the freezing point — but with the sun beaming brightly, warm enough for me to have a cup of tea and a quiet read on the front porch for 20 minutes.

The tots and I have been getting out every day, and I’ve been discovering that we have three dawdlers, one steadfast marcher, and one dasher-ahead. Makes for some logistical challenges, keeping the herd together, particularly since staunch walker me believes children should walk, not ride. Four-year-olds in strollers mystify me. (Frankly, I actively disapprove of healthy, able-bodied four-year-olds in strollers on a routine basis. The occasional necessary efficiency of plopping them into a stroller aside, for speed or logistical reasons, those kids should be on their feet!) Three-year-olds, too, for that matter. Once a child in my care is comfortably over two, they start walking.

We walk to the library (1 km) and back. We walk to the park by the river (.6 km), the other park by the river (.8 km), playgroup (1.2 km), the mall (2 km). For all these jaunts, the tots walk the entire distance, there and home again. The stroller is used to hold onto, and for tossing in stuff we find along the way. For anything over 2 km (downtown, 4 km), the park by the coffee shop (3.5 km), they take turns in the stroller.

Because walking is good for them, and if you allow enough time — and heck, we have all day, don’t we? — they can walk much further than people give them credit.

I would also suggest that if you never “have time” to walk a km (half-a-mile-ish) and back home again, something is amiss in your life. We get to the library (half-a-mile-ish) in about 20 – 23 minutes. Not such a huge chunk of time, and so much healthier for you and the environment to walk it than haul the car out for another 2-minute toxin-spewing, road-clogging trip.

Rather than seek ways to become ever more efficient, to cram more and more into less and less time, try for a little inefficiency. It’s very soul-restoring.

April 14, 2008 Posted by | health and safety, outings, parenting | 9 Comments