These days, parenting is different from what it was in the past. Gone are the days of playing outside until dusk, building forts with friends and having that child-like freedom of walking to school alone and fixing your own dinner when your parents were at work. Yes, due to social media, technological advances and sensationalism, the world can be a scary place for parents and their youngsters, or it might seem to be anyway. As a result, parents are more reluctant to let their kids find their own independence.
However, although you might not want to, there does come a point when children should embark on the real world by themselves. Here are 10 reasons why your child is ready to go to school alone.
9 They Know The Route To School
Before your kid is ready for school it is obviously important that they know the right way. This might seem obvious, but children can often be forgetful, especially when they have other things on their minds. You should always make sure that your child knows the route to school as well as the correct route home, plus it is always a good idea that they know a few short cuts or other ways to reach their destination in case they get lost.
To test them, ask them some questions about getting to school and home. If they have to take any public transport make sure you quiz them on that too. More importantly, if they are taking public transport, it is vital that they know how to walk home in case of an emergency.
8 They Know Not To Speak To Strangers
Stranger danger has been a thing for a number of years now, with children taught not to speak to anyone that they do not know. You might think that your kid wouldn't do such a thing, but sometimes you never really know, so you should always be very serious when discussing the topic of strangers.
Unfortunately, there are some horrible people out there in the world, therefore it is very important to lecture your kids on the dangers of getting into unknown vehicles, talking to people that they have never seen before, or entering places that they shouldn't. Thankfully, it is unlikely that something bad would ever happen but it is also better to be safe than sorry.
7 You've Done A Trial Run
A good thing to do while preparing your child to become more independent is to do a trial run before the main event. Plus, if your kid is demanding that they walk to school alone and you are unsure, you can always bribe them with a trial run.
Therefore, if they don't do it correctly you can figure out what to do next and explain to them that they need to be sure what they are doing. Trial runs are also great for giving your kid some responsibility. Children often crave responsibility, so giving them the chance to prove that they are ready for something can be a positive step forward.
6 You Feel Confident That They Are Ready
One of the most common things when it comes to figuring out if your child is ready to walk to school alone is that they are usually certain that they are ready before you. Yes, children believe that they are more mature than they might actually be and crave more and more independence as they get older.
However, as much as it is about them, it is also about you and how sure you are that they are indeed ready. Nobody knows your child more than you do, so make sure you are comfortable and sure that your kid is ready.
5 They Know What To Do In An Emergency
Before your kid sets off on their own, make sure that they know what to do in an emergency. For instance, if they take public transport, it is important that they know what to do if the bus broke down or if there were a cancellation on the subway. Do they know how to walk home or how to contact you if they need to get hold of you?
Furthermore, what would they do if they fell over and hurt themselves, or witnessed something that could scare them or maybe something that required help? Although these things might sound a little scary, it is something that can prepare them for the big wide world.
4 They Know Your Phone Number
One of the first things you should do before allowing them to go anywhere alone is making sure that they know your phone number from memory. Yes, in case of an emergency, it is important that your kids can phone you without having your number present. Kids these days often have cell phones with various numbers stored inside.
However, if they were to lose that phone or if they were to have that phone stolen, it is vital that they know another number by memory in order to help them or ask for help. Furthermore, if your kids are good at memorizing numbers, try to make them memorize a few, just in case.
3 They Know Their Address
While it is crucial that your children know the route home and how to get to and from school, it is also vital that they know the actual address of the house, including the zip code. If your child ends up lost or in a dangerous situation, they may be able to get home by public transport or even ask someone how to get to your home address.
Furthermore, if your child ends up completely lost and feels that they have no other option than to ask someone to help, tell them to ask a woman or a woman with a baby. Yes, studies have shown that women are statistically more likely to help as men somewhat worry that they might be regarded as a predator.
2 They Know How To Cross The Road Safely
While much of the focus (when it comes to letting your children go to school on their own) centers on stranger danger, it is also important that your kids know how to safely and efficiently cross over the road as well as dealing with oncoming traffic. For instance, children should pay attention to traffic at all times, especially when crossing the street. This means no cell phones, tablets, or any other electronic devices.
In fact, even listening to music should be forbidden, at least until they are a little bit older and more comfortable walking on the streets alone. Another good thing to have your kids wear brightly colored clothes, even more so in the winter when it gets dark earlier.
1 They Want To
One thing that some parents tend to forget is that sometimes children might not want to progress with their independence and that they might be quite happy clinging on to Mom and Dad for a few more months. While this isn't always great, it is ok to let things move slowly from time to time. In fact, the worst thing you could ever do is push your kid into doing something that they don't feel ready to do.
After all, you are the parent and you are supposed to be the one who makes the right decisions. However, don't worry too much, the time will come when they want to spend less time with you and more time in the outside world, and although this can feel awful, it is the right thing to do.