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School runs: The burden, the stress

Many parents do not get to see their children in the daytime; no thanks to the nature of their job, while some that get to see them hardly get the time to drop them off in school in the morning or pick them after school. Many parents rely on “trusted” taxi drivers, maids and subordinates to either drop them off in the morning or pick them up after school. However, in most cases parents have been left disappointed owing to cases of school buses burning with pupils, drivers using children for rituals and untoward behaviour of some maids.

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In some states, there are now organisations which specialise in taking children to school, while it has also become a cash cow of some transportation companies. Despite these avenues, many parents take their children to school themselves. This, in several parts of the country, is referred to as “school runs”. In some cases, parents using professionals have to contend with traffic, bosses at work and stress in ensuring that their children get to school and are not left behind at closing hours.

In order to make ends meet, some parents engage several tactics, including after-school classes and extracurricular classes for their children.

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A pharmacist, Daniel Chibueze Chukwu, said it could be stressful engaging in school runs due to the dictates of his profession. He said he had to resume very early and return home late and that in some cases gridlocks extend the time he got home.

Therefore, he said he woke up early, prepared the children for school and dropped them off on his way to the office.

“At closing hours I arrange with the school authority on the time I will come to pick the child after closing from work,” he said, adding that he was yet to perfect appropriate means of picking the children from school.

For Pastor Andrew Moses, engaging in school runs drains “the life out of my day.” He added that it was very stressful as he had to wake up early in the morning because of his job and as such the children woke up about 5am and were usually the first set of pupils to get to school before 6:30am and among the last set to leave the school because he picked them while returning from the office.

“It is hard on the children because they resume early and close late,” he said, adding that his children had adapted well to the situation.

For Mrs. Aisha Adamu, an entrepreneur, school runs affect her business as she has to open late and lock up her shop in the afternoon to go and pick her children from school. The self-employed mother enjoys flexibility with her time, but that it came at a great cost as she usually got more patronage at the same time she indulged in school runs.

“When I close the shop to pick up the children, it affects my business because I do miss patronage of some customers at the time the shop is closed,” she said.

Unlike Mrs. Adamu, another parent, Abubakar Danlandi, said he relied on the school’s transportation system because engaging in school runs for him could be difficult because, “I am a very busy man.

“My own case is pleasant compared to others. The school transport system is what my children take to and from schools,” he said.

In some families like that of John Anna, it is a shared responsibility. While the husband takes the children to school on his way to the office, his wife picks them in the afternoon. This move, he said, made the children happier and their relationship better.

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