I recently started commuting home from daycare with my two-year-old via Metro and our apartment shuttle. It has quickly become the best part of our day. (My daughter’s first words when waking up this morning were, “Ride the train!”) Often, parents feel stuck driving children to and from daycare, but consider taking transit instead of driving to spend some quality time with your kid.
Here are some things to keep in mind when planning a transit commute with your child:
Think Through the Logistics
How much is the child transit fare? Are strollers allowed on your bus or train? Will your child need anything during the commute?
Some daycares have space to store strollers, and I’ve stashed essentials like diapers, wipes and snacks in my stored stroller. My daughter is in a stroller-hating phase right now, so I carry applesauce pouches in my purse to have them on hand for our afternoon commute. Think through each step and consider what you may need to make sure you and your child stay comfortable and happy on your commute.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Time
Including your child in your car free commute may take a little longer, but you can make it more quality time since you aren’t driving with your kid strapped in the back seat. We often stop at a small plaza in between daycare and the Metro station so the toddler can run around a little bit. Spend the time on the train or bus by chatting or playing small games with your child.
Make Waiting Fun
What kid doesn’t like to watch buses or trains go by? My only problem is that my daughter wants to ride all the trains, so waiting for our train can be a little tough. To help pass the time, we identify pictures, letters and colors on signs. You might pack a small bag of toys or things to do if you have a longer commute. Make those toys special and only for riding the train or bus.
Involve Your Child
I talk through the steps of our commute with my daughter and she has picked up on them fairly quickly. “Ticket!” “Escalator! Up!” “Ride the train!” “Ride the bus!”
We tap my SmarTrip card together. She picks the seats we sit in. She points out our shuttle as it rolls up to the curb. What are some ways you can think of involving your child on your transit commute?
Not only can commuting with your child be a fun part of your day, it can help set them up for independent transit commuting in the future. Try it out and let us know how it goes!
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners