There are a lot of variables involved in the decision to allow your child (or children) to walk unattended to school each day. No matter how relatively brief the walk may seem, plenty of things can go wrong.
You have to be able to trust that your child will respond safely and correctly when faced with a challenging situation. Take the time to truly consider the whole picture, and check out a few tips for deciding whether or not to allow your kid(s) to walk to school.
Consider the individual maturity of your child
The maturity of your child or children should be the foundational element used to decide whether or not they are safe to walk themselves to school each day. You know your child better than anyone, and you are capable of deciding whether or not they can handle the responsibility.
Most kids aren’t competent enough to cross big roads until they are at least ten years of age. If your child is ever injured, call a personal injury lawyer immediately. Your kid may be mature enough to handle road crossings before the age of ten, but it’s better to wait until they are old enough to efficiently discern danger.
Teach your kid safety for their travels
Teach your kid a few basic safety tips for their journey, before you ever set them free to walk to school on their own. They need to know not to talk to strangers.
They need to understand the danger to an age appropriate degree to keep them safe along the way. Teach them to look both ways before they cross the road, and they need to stick to the path you agree upon in the beginning.
Choose the route they will walk
Before you ever allow your kid to walk to school, you should scope out the route they will travel. Walk the route, keeping an open eye out for possible dangers. Once you’ve decided upon a route, walk the route with your child several times.
When you feel comfortable with your child’s ability to walk the route alone, set them free. It may be difficult at first, but everyone will adjust. Take the necessary steps to assure their safety, and you won’t have to worry as much.
Use technology to keep them safe
Technology isn’t always a safety feature, as you don’t want your child burying their head in a device while they’re walking to school. However, you can use technology to keep an eye on their location. Put a locator app on their phone, and watch them walk to school if it makes you feel better.
Consider adopting a buddy system
You may feel safer sending your kid on a walk to school if you know they are walking with a friend or sibling. Teach your child to walk with a buddy, and they will be less likely to find trouble along the way (in theory).