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What age should a child walk to school alone?

How old were you when you walked to school alone?  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. What age when walking to school alone? Explanation in first post

    • younger than 10 years old
      11
    • 11 years old
      6
    • 12 years old
      7
    • 13 years old
      7
    • Other
      7


30 posts in this topic

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Hoping this poll will help settle a disagreement with my husband :) 

Our 11 year old daughter (just turned 11 in July) wants to start walking to and from school alone this year---what age is a *good* age to allow that?

I still think that she's too young, and given that we live in Queens, NY and in this day and age when there are many more crazy people living in the world....(I know, crazy people are everywhere).

My husband thinks it's fine---because she has a cell phone (just got it this year for her birthday), and it's about a 10 minute walk, tops.  More than likely, she wouldn't wait for a friend to walk with each day and just head out alone, knowing her.

 

To me---it's a different world safety-wise on the streets than when I was her age...I know that sounds lame/old-fashioned thinking.  

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When I was ten years old I'd walk o school alone every day. And it was 20min walk and there was no cell phones. Honestly? It's as dangerous now as when we were kids. These days you just hear about those "dangerous" more only cause of the internet and how fast the information spread. 

 

Overall. It depends on a child. Is your child responsible? Does it know the area? Is it easily distracted? Is it mature or childish for it's age? I don't think there is a good answer for your question. You know your child the best. Some 8 year old can go to school on their own but I bet some parents wouldn't even trust their 14 years old to do that. Lol. 

Edited by Roel

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   I said 12, but various factors involved including distance, if they have a friend/group to walk with, if they have a cell phone, how easy is the route is to navigate and what is the neighborhood like as far as crime, traffic etc.

 

  I agree with Cyclone though, you can't really use your own childhood as a reference. My kids are a lot smarter than I was at their age. A lot of that is due to the technology available to them. They are also way less street smart. Also probably due to technology.

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In this situation, I would reluctantly allow her, with the caveat that she must walk with at least one of her friends/classmates - each day, every day, no exceptions.  The chances of a child running into a problem are significantly reduced if they aren't completely alone.  If she wants to be trusted to walk to school, then she should be responsible enough to promise you she will always go with a friend and keep her word on it.  If she isn't mature or responsible enough to understand the importance of making and keeping that promise, then I wouldn't trust her to walk to school. 

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39 minutes ago, Steeleballz said:

   I said 12, but various factors involved including distance, if they have a friend/group to walk with, if they have a cell phone, how easy is the route is to navigate and what is the neighborhood like as far as crime, traffic etc.

 

  I agree with Cyclone though, you can't really use your own childhood as a reference. My kids are a lot smarter than I was at their age. A lot of that is due to the technology available to them. They are also way less street smart. Also probably due to technology.

See that's the thing with how I'm thinking too...people (not just kids) are so engrossed with their heads in their phones walking on the street that they're not even paying attention to what's going on around them.  Crime is low in the general sense given the neighborhood we live in...but it's also NY which brings a certain connotation in my mind.  We also live right off of an extremely busy main road which she would have to cross (at the traffic lights).

 

I was thinking at LEAST 12 years old is better in my mind...but she's been telling me that when she was in Grade 5 last year she was still the only one being picked up everyday, and everyone else walked home alone.  I tend to believe this, because I saw most of them leaving on their own too.  She's intelligent and generally responsible (as far as an 11 year old can be responsible, I suppose)...I'm just mostly afraid of taking the chance, but I know it's something I'll eventually have to get over as she gets older.

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1 hour ago, Boiler said:

I was 7.

 

Bus/Train and walk.

Wow that was young.  

1 hour ago, cyclone27 said:

Times have changed - kids are not very street smart these days. I'd be inclined to say never.

LOL I wish that were an option!

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1 hour ago, Roel said:

When I was ten years old I'd walk o school alone every day. And it was 20min walk and there was no cell phones. Honestly? It's as dangerous now as when we were kids. These days you just hear about those "dangerous" more only cause of the internet and how fast the information spread. 

 

Overall. It depends on a child. Is your child responsible? Does it know the area? Is it easily distracted? Is it mature or childish for it's age? I don't think there is a good answer for your question. You know your child the best. Some 8 year old can go to school on their own but I bet some parents wouldn't even trust their 14 years old to do that. Lol. 

True---all the horror stories of kids being snatched up from the street makes any parent wary.

She knows the area well, but yes easily distracted (I think)...although perhaps only easily distracted because walking with me she maybe thinks there's no *need* to pay attention more?

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1 minute ago, Going through said:

See that's the thing with how I'm thinking too...people (not just kids) are so engrossed with their heads in their phones walking on the street that they're not even paying attention to what's going on around them.  Crime is low in the general sense given the neighborhood we live in...but it's also NY which brings a certain connotation in my mind.  We also live right off of an extremely busy main road which she would have to cross (at the traffic lights).

 

I was thinking at LEAST 12 years old is better in my mind...but she's been telling me that when she was in Grade 5 last year she was still the only one being picked up everyday, and everyone else walked home alone.  I tend to believe this, because I saw most of them leaving on their own too.  She's intelligent and generally responsible (as far as an 11 year old can be responsible, I suppose)...I'm just mostly afraid of taking the chance, but I know it's something I'll eventually have to get over as she gets older.

 

   It's a tough call. In 5 years she'll be 16 and she will probably be bugging you about letting her drive to school. That will be hard if you haven't let her walk yet :D.

 

   We let my daughter walk to school in grade 5. She went with a friend and we could see them for about 2/3rds of the way so it wasn't too bad. For the first half of the year we let her walk to school but we used to pick her up after school. The second half she got to walk home too and that's when she got her cell phone in case she needed to call. For the first few weeks I was out in the driveway watching for her to come around the corner and after that you realize they can do it.

 

   As far as being comfortable with it, the kids are usually OK with it. They are not really thinking of what can go wrong, so it's hard to go by how they feel. You are thinking of those things, so you have to be comfortable with it too, at least with feeling like they have the maturity to handle the unexpected situations that may arise.

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6 minutes ago, Steeleballz said:

 It's a tough call. In 5 years she'll be 16 and she will probably be bugging you about letting her drive to school. That will be hard if you haven't let her walk yet :D

LOL good point!

 

7 minutes ago, Steeleballz said:

We let my daughter walk to school in grade 5. She went with a friend and we could see them for about 2/3rds of the way so it wasn't too bad. For the first half of the year we let her walk to school but we used to pick her up after school. The second half she got to walk home too and that's when she got her cell phone in case she needed to call. For the first few weeks I was out in the driveway watching for her to come around the corner and after that you realize they can do it.

This makes me feel a bit better about the whole thing.  I was thinking about meeting her at a halfway point for at least the first couple of weeks but then I thought about potentially embarrassing her infront of her friends if she IS with them.  Yeah I'll probably end up letter her walk home from school but not *to* school yet...it's still a bit too isolated for my liking at 7:10am when she would be leaving.  School starts at 8:10am, but she likes to go early for the breakfast program, even though she eats at home first, to socialize.

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I had been walking to school on my own since grade 3? In grade 5 i was paid $2 a week to walk some younger kids to school by a lady on my street.  I rememeber being 10 and walking to and from the library (and later riding my bike in summer) which was about 45 mins each way after dark.  I showed my mom the path I took. 

I think this is situational dependent.  Street smart isn't known automatically, it's taught.  Teach her now how to pay attention and look over her shoulder. 

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