My mom might have walked me to school on my first day of Kindergarten (2/3 mile) although in my dotage I don’t recall for sure. After that, I walked myself every day. (One day I showed up late and went home, afraid to go in the school. My mom, with a 3 year old and a 10-month old to watch and no car simply sent me out to trudge back.)
The next year, we had moved and school was a bit over a mile away. I walked the next 8 years, alone. (Of course, once I got older, I could ride my bike–and then I began cutting across the highway without going down to the traffic light which cut about 3,000 feet off the trip.)
There is a lady I pass near our house whose kid gets picked up at the end of her drive, (it is a state highway and I would rather see the bus stop there than make the kid walk down the typical Ohio shoulderless road to a cross street a quarter mile away). However, her driveway is only about 80 feet long and she and the kid wait in her car every morning for the bus. That is just Wrong!
Well, that’s true just about everywhere. I have a post somewhere around here regarding my roommates kids (8 and 5) who nearly got their mom in some trouble because they were alone after school and had a trauma. However, I don’t think that rule carries over to playing outside unsupervised or walking to the bus. Just my take.
Back in my day my mom would ask us where we’d been all afternoon! And we’d give answers like:
“We followed the creek as far as we could go before we got hungry.”
“We went to visit the horse.” (There was a small stable about three blocks away.)
“We decided to see how far the train tracks went.”
“We walked to the liquor store to buy candy.”
Honestly, I don’t know how we survived to adulthood. :rolleyes:
Heh. That reminds me – when I was in kindergarten, we moved in the middle of the year. The school was on the other side of a big [well, big if you’re five or six, I have no idea objectively how big it was] park from where we lived, and you had to walk down one hill and cross a big creek/small river and up another hill. So, yeah, uphill both ways.
Anyway, my first day my mom took me in and signed me up, etc., and left.
After school, I started walking home – this turned into a minor flap, because she’d actually come to pick me up (it being my first day and all) and couldn’t find me at first.
Once I was in kindergarten. Now my parents lived on a dead end street and our backyard backed up into the school playground. There was maybe a quarter mile of field between the two and a big hill (you couldn’t SEE the playground from our house, but you didn’t have to cross a street to get there). My mother would let us go to the playground all the time. So we were supposed to get picked up carpool style every day and one day one of the moms was late, so I got up and walked home. I knew my mother and I were doing something after school, and I didn’t want to be late, and I was three minutes from home.
Once when I was in forth grade. It was possible to walk from school to home, but a little over a mile - and I was a bus kid. One day the bus was really late - like over an hour. And once again, my family had plans. So I walked out and walked home. Big trouble over that one. I beat the bus home though.
Neither case did I get in trouble from my parents, who thought that a walk I’d taken before in good weather was a reasonable response to someone not holding up their end of the bargain to get me home.
I will say, though, that objectively speaking, those were more dangerous days to be a kid. You can’t let kids wander freely without incurring danger – of being killed by a car, drowning, falling out of a tree, being abducted, losing a hand to firecrackers, getting lost and freezing to death, etc., etc. What has changed is our tolerance for that risk.
The only time I see parents waiting with kids at the bus stop is when the bus stop is on a heavily trafficked county road. Of course, my parents live in a development so it is a very different situation. The eldest children watch out for the young ones. That is how it worked when I was in elementary school too. I always thought it was cool that I got to walk to the bus stop and hang out with the big kids.
Here’s a factor no one’s mentioned, but it figures prominently into why I accompany mudgirl, who is 6, to the bus stop. People aren’t allowed to correct other people’s kids any more. Here’s the story: At our bus stop, there are probably a dozen kids every morning. Three of them, a brother and his two sisters, do not have an adult with them; in fact, it’s pretty clear from the way they’re dressed, the way their hair is in snarls and tangles, faces dirty, etc. that an adult does not get up with them in the mornnig. The boy is about 10, and is a terror. He often comes to the bust stop with a wooden stake or an aluminum baseball bat and goes about pounding the shit out of the public trash can, signs in the vicinity, etc. He also seems pretty bent on killing his sisters, one of whom is 7, the other of whom is 9.
The bus stop is theoretically “school property” and governed by the same rules. But no matter how many times the school’s been called about this boy, they are either unwilling or unable to do anything about his behavior. I (and other parents at the bus stop) feel the need to be there to protect their kids from RJ. Also, there are a couple of other boys the same age who seem to be accompanied by their parents in order to keep them from being RJ.
Now, when I was young, kids didn’t act like that in front of grown ups, because the grown ups would call the parents, and then you got in trouble. Now, parents of kids like that don’t want to hear it. So, if she won’t control her kid, I’ve damned well got to protect mine. (She does go outside to play a lot, though, and I never bother her. She knows her boundaries and respects them).
Okay, I’d probably do the same thing if I were in your shoes. The difference, though…and it’s a BIG one…is that this is a real threat…not a perceived or imagined threat or a “worst case scenario.” There are very few of these kids out there terrorizing the other kids. We’re talking about the What If-ers that don’t have an RJ beating the crap out of their kids. They’re just plain paranoid.
I waited at the bus stop myself as did my older brother. However, my mother waiting with my younger brother.
She didn’t do so because times had changed or she had more fear issues. Instead, she had gone back to work by the time my younger brother started elementary school (she was a SAHM when my older brother and I were in the early grades).
She felt bad about not spending as much time with my younger brother, and waiting with him at the bus stop was her last chance to see him for the day.
Your question has a false premise, that waiting with your kid is new. My mom waited with my brother every day in winter because the bus stop was unreasonably far from the house, on a deserted stretch of country road, and in winter it sometimes never showed up and she didn’t want him to lose track of time and freeze.
My two (ages 11 and 6) normally walk to the bus stop, unless it’s raining a lot, or really cold. I know, I know, but they have to go where there’s this big metal shop area with rigs coming in and out and it ain’t paved–Alabama red dirt, y’all. When it rains, this makes lots of goopy red MUD and the tractor-trailers create lots of deep muddy tracks. So I drive them there, so that their shoes aren’t ruined and they don’t track up the bus and school. And if I have to scrape ice off of my windshield, I guess I feel better if I take them and wait on the bus.
And if my six-year-old is going alone (big sister is sick or something), I’ll take him. That boy is likely to go off exploring in the mechanic shop and totally forget about the bus!
My father did the exact same thing with me in the same situation. Not because my parents were super paranoid, but because we were leaving around the same time. It was nice to have a little alone time with him every day. We had some interesting conversations. shrugs
Mine got walked to school in elementary, then again he’s ADHD and wasn’t likely to make it actually there without supervision. I was only home with him two school days and we enjoyed the walking together.
The other 3 days the sitter picked him up, since she lived miles away walking wasn’t an option. Even though he’s in middle school now he’s still driven and picked up by an adult, again mostly because of my work schedule and the distance involved.
I have a girlfriend that lives in a fine small neighborhood, two single-block streets wrapped by a long cul-de-sac like thing, only 2 entrances into the subdivision. The school bus drives into the 'hood and lets the kids off safely between the two entrances, not on the main road, meaning a total of 3 blocks for her 4 kids (aged 7-13) to walk home. Her husband insists she drive to the bus stop to meet the bus every afternoon, for fear something untoward will occur in that brief period of unsupervised time.
Then again, we live near Detroit, where stories about kids being abducted walking to and from school are splayed across the news every other month or so. When the news shows the police standing next to a sobbing parent of yet another abducted child urging you to escort your kids…that resonates.
All these stories of school buses that change their routes to pick up new kids, that go into housing estates and drop kids off nearly at their doorsteps for parents to then sit there and wait to drop off or pick up the childrens just make me laugh.
It makes me wonder how some of those parents would cope sending their kids off to school over here, where most schools don’t run a dedicated bus, and kids have to just cope with the normal public transport routes.
25 years ago all the little trick or treaters where I lived where chaproned. Usually it was the dads that went with us, big groups of kids and a few dads was what I remember best. Of course, we lived in Lawrence, Mass until I was ten…but even when we moved to the country my dad still came with to keep an eye on my little brother until I was in middle school. Most of the kids in the town we went to were chaparoned until then as well, or like my then best friend, went with a friend and the friend’s parent(s).
However, contrary to saoirse’s guess, our bus stops were 3/4ths of a mile away from the house. One of the first things I did after getting my license was to check with the trip meter in my dad’s car. The first time I rode a bus to school was in NH. I always lived too close for buses in the city. Now the stops are 1/10 of a mile apart, which seems insane to me given the buses I get stuck behind are not for the little ones, but the middle school kids. An 11-14-year-old can’t walk more than two houses down now? sheesh