Walking with children

Taking a walk along the street with very young children can be daunting, especially given the sidewalk shortage in Nashville.

Older children need the independence, and perhaps now is the time to let them have some.

We made a video with some tips to remind you how to walk safely with a family; and what to tell your children before they go out for a walk on their own:

Is this a time of crisis, or opportunity? Both. Definitely. Here’s an opportunity:

Could your kids go out for a walk by themselves? Imagine it - you could have a snack, like a civilized person, while they are gone! Or you could read a book! Or concentrate on something! Or….you see the opportunity for you.

Your kids are at home during the daytime. Traffic is less. There are plenty of other neighbors out walking. Your kids need the exercise and independence...you see the opportunity for them.

What do your kids need to know to go for a walk safely alone? 

We made a video covering some basics.

Are my kids old enough to go out on their? Are they responsible enough? 

Depends on them, and on the street:

If your kids don’t distinguish between sidewalk and roadway - if they don’t identify the sidewalk curb, or have the situational awareness to identify when they are in a roadway - then they should probably not be walking alone on through-streets. Hold their hand when you do walk with them on busier streets. Prepare them for the future with these lessons:

  1. Teach your kids the dangers of the roadway, how to identify the roadway, and that crossing a street is a serious activity that is separate to playing or walking along the side of a street.
  2. Teach your kids to choose the sidewalk whenever there is one, and how to walk along the left side of the street if not.
  3. Teach them to carefully choose where to cross, and that there is a process to be followed, every time, when they want to cross any street.

Our video covers most of the basics. If you want to turn this into a lesson that includes them, here are more resources to show your child, with age-appropriate 5 minute videos and interactive quiz questions:

http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pedsaferjourney/hs_en.html

Many of us have unique opportunities to go for a walk with our families during the day, and to let our children explore their neighborhood independently - take those opportunities!

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