Monday, April 25, 2011

The Tortoise Walks the Hares Around the City

We walk a lot of places with our children because we live downtown.  But children don't walk the way adults do!  They run or suddenly stop to inspect something for five minutes.  They want to stand on tiptoes on the curb or climb up every set of steps.  They tend to stop and ponder directly in front of the plodding adult.

I realize I have begun to teach my children city walking manners - not just important safety rules, but also pleasantries of the walk.

For safety:

Stop well back from the street corners - don't make the drivers nervous!

Stop, look and listen at every driveway and cross street; hold an adult's hand while crossing.

No fancy hopping or running while we're crossing a street - just walking like adults.
(Ben must look down at the red light under the sewer grates every time; this can take five minutes and attracts attention - I've gotten used to it).

For walking pleasantry:

Stay to one side.

Don't walk in front of someone.  And do your stopping and pondering to the side.

If someone says hello, say hello back, but children do not start conversations with unknown adults.
I've found on days that we aren't walking somewhere, the children need a run at the park because they have become accustomed to the exercise and fresh air.  I do still take a stroller on market days, but I should really just take a cart; in fact, I sold my double stroller last week as both children are definitely too big for it.  I love taking walks with my big kids. . . .even in the role of tortoise.


Unknown said...

The boys and I walk down town (we live in a little town) and they love looking at all the window displays and going to the public library or the post office with's nice to be outside instead of riding in the car : )

Leila said...

I like your post. There's a balance to be found. Children so need child-time and child-space -- running, hopping, jumping, exploring, playing their funny games. They need to be safe. They need to trust. And they need to start learning awareness of others' need for a comfort zone -- not to be popped out at or jumped on!
Very nicely expressed and photo'd!

life in this 1880 farmhouse said...

I too love how you allow your children to be just that and explore their environment. Funny but when I look back to the city where I grew up I remember the little things, sights, sounds and smells. Hope your children do too. All pleasant thoughts.

Beth said...

Fun to see your sidewalks, the walk you take. G's bonnet/hat is precious.

Every experience with kids is a teaching possibility, isn't it.

Reading your "walking rules" reminds me of all the things I have to say to mine when we go to Costco. Can you imagine all my ducklings doing the "kid wander" down each aisle roughly staying with/behind me? Teach Teach Teach! :-)

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

Attentive mama, good mama! Sometimes I'm amazed by just HOW MUCH training is involved in parenting!

I love Miss G's colorful accessories!

Shasta said...

I'm catching up... luv G's hat, polka dots, nice! (your own pattern?)
And I am going to try adopting all your walking rules for my boys as well. You thot of a few I missed. Hopefully we'll be out more regularly in a few weeks (and we can stop and chat again at Market!)

Margo said...

S, no, the little bonnet pattern is from angry chicken (Amy Karol) - - I blogged about it here
and there's a link in that post to another post about the bonnet too.

Hope to see you soon!