Despite childhood obesity being on the rise, a new survey reveals more than half our kids are driven to school by parents – a journey often less than half a mile.
Here, mum Angela Epstein, from Manchester, who for years has driven her four kids the five minutes to school, unashamedly defends her actions. Read why she loves doing the school run – and have your say by leaving a comment at the bottom of the story
It’s 8.30am and in a whirlwind of plaits and plimsolls, it’s time to get my daughter, Sophie, to school.
Quickly, I do a mental tick list to be sure we’ve got everything we need. Pencil case? Check. PE bag? Check. Homework (finished or otherwise)? Check. And car keys? Oh, yes, check.
After all, why spend 15 minutes walking my eight-year-old to school, lumbering along the fume-filled streets carrying her cumbersome satchel, when we could nail the journey by car in just five?
But oh, dear, it seems that to admit inflicting such a choice on my youngster is tantamount to child abuse, given the reaction this week to research that revealed nearly half of British school children don’t walk to school.
What’s more, according to data collated by parenting website parentdish.co.uk, a third of children who get a lift to school live less than a mile away.
Someone slam us in the Tower for committing this sluggishly lazy parental shocker!
Certainly, the hysterical response suggests that giving your kids a lift to school is part of the reason Britain is suffering from spiralling childhood obesity.
Pop them in the car for the blink-and-you-miss-it journey, say the detractors, and you might as well spoon-feed them fried Mars Bars while holding the remote control in front of them.
Frankly, as someone whose four children have always been given lifts to junior school, I think it’s astonishing and actually quite depressing that parents should be demonised for taking the car.
Sure, there’s nothing nicer than walking with your children through sun-dappled lanes and fresh fields, damp with the scent of meadow grass as you pootle along to school.
But the reality for most of us is quite different.
Anyway, why should I be made to feel bad for driving my child to school, whether it’s around the corner or down the lane?
In fact – and don’t adjust your sets – I enjoy doing it, as does my husband, Martin, when he does the school run.
Those five minutes in the car are a lovely cosy, quiet way to start the day.
Hermetically sealed from the outside world, it’s just you and your youngster having a little down time and doing some debriefing before that playground whistle blows.