Readers — I recently received this article on backpack overload and how it can hurt a kid’s back and posture.
While it gets rather amazingly detailed about how to correctly pack a pack, it does include this great advice:
- Talk to the school about lightening the load. Be sure the school allows students to stop at their lockers throughout the day. Team up with other parents to encourage changes.
I really do think that in addition to the whole parental fear of predators, one reason kids walk so much less to school is that backpacks are now often 10, 15 pounds, or even more. The problem, at least from what I’ve seen with my own kids, is the school demands a separate composition notebook for each class, on top of all the other books the kids have to bring back and forth. (Here in New York City, a lot of schools don’t have lockers).
Anyway, the problem becomes cyclical: Since so few kids are walking (about 11% do), schools can insist on a lot of stuff going back and forth. It’s such a burden that even kids who might’ve wanted to walk, don’t. It’s a far cry from the days of walking home a few miles with your few books in a book strap.
And may one more reason our kids are getting fatter along with their packs. -L.
And that’s just tonight’s English homework!