As we are entering the gift giving season, did you ever think, the best gift to give is your TIME? Many parents surveyed during the School Travel Planning process quote “convenience “or “on my way somewhere else” as the main reasons for driving their kids to school.
What effect does this have on the ones we love the most; our children? We rush them in the car, stress as we deal with traffic and then kick them out of the car to avoid getting honked at because we stop in a “no stopping” zone. School after school, the same hectic morning stories are shared.
Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to not reach for the electronics in the morning but take those extra 15 minutes and walk to school, or even just a few blocks from school. It is amazing what you learn during a short walk with your child; upcoming tests, classroom drama or fears, you name it. As children think about what the day ahead has in store, let’s give the gift of time to:
• mentally prepare for the day
• talk and share stories
• parent and provide guidance
• take in the beauty of your community
• breath in fresh air
• get some exercise
Once you give the gift of 15 minutes a few times and teach your child to be a safe pedestrian you may feel your child is prepared and ready to walk with friends. Now you get the gift of time back as you are relieved of your chauffeuring duties; allowing you more time to get to work, an extra cup of coffee or even for some moms and dads a nice long shower.
The gift of 15 minutes keeps on giving in amazing ways. Your child builds their self-confidence, sense of independence, becomes more alert at school and gets some exercise. You get a chance to create a stronger bond, the open lines of communication and provide the solid foundation for when they need help.
Start with 15 minutes once a week, and you will see how it makes everyone feel better, less stressed, less anxious and more open. You may like it so much you make it a part of your daily routine. It takes a little planning, but for 15 minutes, the rewards are priceless. Is your child not worth 15 minutes?
Carol Sartor, HASTe Facilitator at the City of North Vancouver’s Kids in the Hall on November 21, 2015.