First, a disclaimer: My child’s bus ride is a reasonable 20 minutes. So far she’s had nothing but positive experiences with her fellow bus-mates (except for the one time they booed her for being a Yankees fan). And I work from home, making drop off and pick up very easy to manage.
Yes, I do understand and respect the valid reasons that parents decide to drive their kids to school. But my motivation in encouraging you to put your kids on the bus instead of drive them — if and when your personal situation allows — is primarily to increase the time your children spend outside.
Let me explain. Every morning, my kids and I head out the door about 15 minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick my daughter up. My son and I then get another 15 minutes or so outside as we wave goodbye to Sierra and walk home. Barring severe inclement weather, that time almost always gets extended — either by my encouragement or by Devin’s curiosity. (Today we spent more time than I care to admit looking at deer scat.)Then, at the end of the day, we have at least another 15 minutes outside as we walk to and then hang out at the bus stop, my neighbors and I talking about anything and everything with our children playing together close by.
If you add it up, we might spend 45-60 minutes outside, just because of the bus! Besides the many benefits of unstructured time outside (not to mention the environmental benefits of mass transit), my kids also gain from things like having to choose appropriate clothing for the weather and reflecting on the seasonal changes around us. And quite frankly, even little nature-loving me is finding it more difficult to get outside these days as the weather gets colder and nastier. At least the bus gets us out there!
So, if time and situation allow, try putting your child on the bus a few times a week, or just in the mornings or the afternoons. You might be surprised how easy (and healthy) it is to let someone else take your kid to school!