2 girls walking to school for a teachable moment

How to turn ‘walking to school’ into a teachable moment

Your child walking to school is a fantastic everyday opportunity that you can turn into a teachable moment. There are the obvious safety chats that you can have, but it is also a great oppportunity to gradually loosen the reins and to slowly increase their independence.

You can read this article to learn more about what a teachable moment is.

Watch the video to find out how you can turn walking to school into a teachable moment.

Read the transcription

How do we turn kids walking to school into a teachable moment? Let’s find out.

Hi, I’m Cath Hak from Sex Ed Rescue and this channel is all about helping you comfortably talk about sex education. These teachable moment videos are about how to find everyday opportunities and use them to talk to our kids about sex. Some of these situations are easy to spot and others will make you think, ‘How the hell do I use this to talk about sex education?’

This teachable moment is how to use your kids walking to school. Now, I use this a lot because right behind my house, there’s my children’s Primary School. Some days, I walk my kids to school and other times I don’t. But it’s important to slowly increase your kid’s boundaries.

I remember reading something from Michael Grose, an Australian parenting guru, and he was talking about how we need to slowly let kids go. As an example, he talks about kids riding their bikes. Gross might first let his kids ride to the corner and back while he watches. Then, he’ll eventually let them go further and further until he’s sure they’re safe. So, an important thing about parenting is that we’ve got to let our kids go.

So, how can we turn walking to school into a teachable moment? There is that opportunity to talk about road safety and being responsible. That when your kids walk to school, they make sure they go straight to school and stay safe.

Safety is a huge part of sex education because it does overlap into protective behaviours and protective education. This is stuff like stopping sexual abuse. I live in Perth and around twice a year we hear about kid’s getting snatched off the street or stories about someone outside of schools trying to grab or lure in kids. So, when kids are walking to school, you can talk about stranger danger. We might be walking along and see someone walking a puppy. We usually stop and pat the puppy or talk to the owner.

I might turn that into an opportunity to say, ‘What would you do if I wasn’t with you and a person asked you to look at their puppy? What if after you had a pat they asked if you wanted to come home with them because they had lollies? Or what if they ask you to help them get the dog in a car?’ So, I talk about lots of situations with my kids. The thing about kids is that you must give them lots of examples.

There was something that happened with my daughter the other day. I can’t exactly recall what it was, but she didn’t know how to respond as we hadn’t talked about that exact scenario. We had talked about similar situations, but not that exact one. If we give our kids lots of examples, they can think more naturally for themselves in that situation.

Now my daughter goes to high school alone so we had conversations about which way she wanted to walk. This is because one day after school, one of her friends wanted to go into the city. I heard about what went on in those areas, so I didn’t want her to go.

She said they weren’t going to do anything, and I said, ‘You might not, but you’re going to have older teens around you and they’ll think you’re vulnerable. There’s just a chance something could happen.’ Once we talked about why I felt like that, she understood. I wasn’t going to let that happen, and she understood why now.

We also talk about what if she misses her bus. Her bus is five blocks away from her high school, so she doesn’t have much time to get there. So if she misses it, will she walk home alone, or will she wait for her friends? We talk gently about this, so she doesn’t get scared.

Sex, Likes and Social Media – Talking To Our Teens In the Digital Age by Allison Havey and Deana Puccio is a book I bought recently. It’s an English book full of stuff we should talk with our teens about. One example talks about what if you’re travelling on public transport and someone sits really close to you and puts a hand on your leg. Or if they look down your top and say, ‘Hey Love, what’s your name?’ How should you respond? These authors talk about stuff that I haven’t even mentioned to my teenager. I really like it. It’s easy to read, easy to process, and has lots of good stories in it.

As kids start to get more independent and start going out alone, we as parents need to give them those safety skills. My daughter isn’t aware of a lot of the risks out there. So, I need to talk about it in a way that doesn’t scare her.

Like, at nighttime I lock the car doors when I am drivign alone. Eventually, I’ll need to explain why I do that to my kids without scaring them. If we explain it in a natural way, it will be easier for our kids to handle. If we did the opposite, like if I worried all the time about stranger danger, my kids are going to be worried too. In the parenting group I have on Facebook, we talk about this a lot.

Walking to school; there are lots of different opportunities to turn it into a teachable moment.

Okay, have a good one. Cheers.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.

Leave a Comment: