When should a child be allowed to walk alone?

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    I am looking for opinions on when a child should be allowed to walk to school and home alone I know there are some really sick people out there but when do you let your kids walk alone? Elementary school, or do you wait until middle school?



    If you want the child to never hear swearing from a stranger than the parent shouldn’t let them walk anywhere alone–ever.



    Hey Jimmy,

    Are you going for a coffee?? Perhaps a latte:)?



    cinnamon… jimmyG has a point.. you were serious, weren’t you jimmy;-)

    you should let your children be alone in public when you feel they are ready to handle situations that make them uncomfortable in public. i don’t think there is a set age for that.

    children will take their cue from you… so if you show them that people in the greater world often behave in ways that aren’t appropriate in your home and that the best way to deal with those people is to ignore them, they will be ready to walk alone sooner rather than later.

    but, you knew that, didn’t you?



    Cruiser you’re a smart guy.

    Normally I’m partial to Americanos, but I am feeling like a latte after reading this post.



    jimmy g… LOL… was i just dissed? for giving very grandmotherly advice or perhaps for taking life too seriously?

    but i agree.. this does deserve a latte… tho mine’s chai. Too bad i can’t have that delivered.



    Are you referring to safety? And by alone, do you mean without you but with other kids, or completely alone. Also, are you talking about a block away where you can still see your child or a mile. In elementary, our kids could only walk with other kids in the neighborhood. Middle school was a mixed bag. My son was never bothered, but even up through high school my daughter was approached by men in cars. The neighbors and neighborhoods were all safe, it was the few jerks that troll near schools that was the problem.

    It’s a fine line between being over protective and just trying to keep them safe. And no, I’m not afraid of swear words. It’s 40 year olds telling my 12 year what he’d like to do to her. We got them cell phones at an early age to be able to call police or us or just look like they were talking as that seemed to be a deterrent. In middle school my daughter had to walk with her brother, a friend, or take the city bus which is full of kids in the am by the way. People don’t understand that this wasn’t a once in awhile issue. My daughter and her friends were approached, followed slowly, and had sexual comments yelled at them frequently. Again, it wasn’t the words, they’ve heard them all and have probably said most of them. It was the fear some of these guys caused.

    So you just do your best to teach them all the safety rules and precautions. The buddy system. When and how to call police. Not to stop for or approach any car. And even a silly simple thing. My daughter practiced screaming. Much to the animals dismay, she got quite good and felt empowered by the ability. Sometimes just telling kids it’s okay to make a ruckus if they feel unsafe, is all it takes.

    And now that I’ve made you paranoid enough to just drive them to school, which I did most days anyway, I’m off in search of that latte myself.



    I don’t think I’m considered overprotective by most people, but I’m not comfortable with my daughter walking alone even in high school, although I don’t forbid it. If she has to walk to the bus stop alone on dark winter mornings, I stand on the sidewalk and watch until she’s joined others.

    In middle school, my kids walked lots of places, but in groups.

    I feel they’re safer on busy streets or buses than alone in our quiet neighborhood.

    Also, I believe in having a cellphone at the ready.



    Cinnamon, I’m not sure of the ages of your kids but I believe you mentioned 7 years old once. I’m not comfortable with a 7 year old walking alone to school. I don’t know what age is a good age but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I always think of that little girl who walked to school on a snow day and has never been seen since. (a few years ago down south)

    Anyway, when it comes to my kids I’d rather be overprotective than not.



    Hi Bonnie,

    We have 4 kids and the youngest is 7 1/2 and she has never walked to school or home by herself. I only brought this subject up because so many people in our neighborhood and at school have been talking about it and I wanted to see what the general census was is all.

    I believe it does depend on the child and their maturity, every child matures at different times. I drive our 2 younger kids the older two walk or take a bus.

    I too think about those stories that have come up and it does not help with all the sex offenders in and around the area. But I also don’t want to get paranoid. Like anything you have to use precautions and have a safety plan, which we have.



    Nothing wrong with paranoid! Predators will pick off the easiest one to get in a herd. Don’t make your child the easiest one. Go a little further – don’t let any child near you be the one. I am as watchful of the other children at the bus stop as my own. I watch to make sure they stay safe. Sure, I may be that interfering old lady on the block, but better that than one kid getting lost.



    Jimmy and Cruiser-

    he he he!



    My daughter is 8, and occasionally she walks to school by herself. In our case, though, we’re close to the school (about 2 blocks). Other neighbors and friends are also walking to school at that time, so the streets aren’t empty. Plus, she’s taken self-defense classes for kids, and I’ve given her lots of instruction in stranger awareness and how to react in uncomfortable situations. She is at the age where she loves to feel grown-up and independent, so I try to give her safe opportunities when I can.



    i am really struck with the sensible analysis parents have given to this question. It depends on the kid, on how far, on how safe, on how well you have prepared them and most of all… on your own comfort level.

    My grandkids walk to school… the younger are walked by the older and the older are in middle school and high school. The older have phones. someone is home to notice whether or not they get home. they have been well prepared. And … both families live in “safe” communities.

    And every day a grandmother’s heart worries about the sickness that lurks even in safe places. But i also remember that they have to grow up and this is part of growing more independent.

    We can’t raise our children in fear and expect them to become fearless adults… so we take calculated risks and pray for the best… for all our children.

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