“Should I let my child walk to school alone?” This is one of the common questions I get from most first-time parents. Well, the answer to this question will depend on several factors, such as their age and the distance of your house from their school.
As a parent, we also love to give them the independence to do things alone. This all starts by allowing them to walk to school by themselves or with their friends. As stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should wait for their kids to turn ten years old before permitting them to walk alone.
But, each time I drive through the streets, I always see kids ages six years old walking along the road alone. But, this does not mean that their parents are terrible. This just happened because their parents gave them freedom and independence at an early age.
How to Know if Your Kids are Ready to Walk Alone?
As I mentioned earlier, different factors could affect whether or not to let your child walk alone. These factors include the following:
- The distance between your home and their school
- Their maturity in terms of walking by themselves
- Do they know the proper way of crossing the roads safely?
- Are they familiar with the sidewalks available in your neighborhood?
- Are you living in a safe neighborhood?
Why We Should Let Our Child Walk to School Alone?
When they are at the right age, it’s time to give them our approval to walk alone. In fact, allowing our kids to walk by themselves could give them lots of benefits, including the following:
- Walking at any distance is a good form of exercise for our kids
- It protects them against childhood obesity and reduces their BMI
- You don’t need to drive them to their school, thus, reducing your carbon footprint
- It also helps you to save some amount on car maintenance and gas
- Walking to school with their friends allow them to have a quick bonding time
- It makes them feel that we are giving them the independence they need
What are the Possible Dangers of Letting Our Kids Walk Alone?
Letting our kids walk to school alone at an early age could make them susceptible to different risks. That’s why as much as possible, we should let them feel independence while protecting them. For instance, we can let them walk to school alone with the fact that we are following them without their knowledge. Through this, we can ensure that they get to school safely.
The following are the possible risks our children may face when they walk alone.
Before letting our kids walk alone, we should teach them how to avoid hit-and-run accidents. These include the proper ways of crossing the street safely, obeying traffic signals and street signs, not getting into other cars with a stranger, and do not run rapidly into traffic.
Kids walking alone are at a higher risk of getting lost. Thus, we should ensure that they are walking through a safe route before letting them walk alone. Before letting them go to school alone, we should stroll them to a safe route several times. They need to familiarize themselves with the area and memorize the route.
We don’t want our kids to get abducted. Therefore, we should teach them not to talk or even mingle with strangers. Let them know the safe places and persons they can go and ask for help with whenever they encounter emergencies. As much as possible, encourage our kids and their friends to walk in a group.
Letting our child walk to school alone is the biggest decision we should make. Several factors should be taken into consideration, such as their age, their maturity, the distance of the school from our home, and more.
We also need to ensure their safety. For the first time they are walking on the street alone, we should follow them several times without them knowing. Through this, we could get the assurance that they are walking safely.
Overall, we could let our child walk to school alone considering that they are well-prepared to do their first steps outside our house without us.