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Thread: Walking home from school

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    Default Walking home from school

    How old do you think kids should be to walk home from school without an adult? This would be 2 children walking together.

    And...at what age would you be comfortable with your children letting themselves in at home after school and being home for about 45 minutes without an adult?

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    I think kids can start walking home at about 8 or 9 (younger if with older siblings), as long as there's someone home when they get there, and also depending on how far the walk is.... we can count the number of houses between us and their school. (That's just my personal opinion). To come home to an empty house for 45 minutes after school, I'd say 10 would be okay (depending on the kid)... but I'd want them to call someone to "check in" when they got home.
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    I think it depends on the area and the layout of where they are walking. My son started to walk home alone from the bus stop at the end of grade 2 (I was on mat.leave). There were 16 kids getting off at that stop. He had to walk 1 block on a sidewalk on a non-busy street, then turn and walk another block in a cul-de-sac, and then walk in the back of our condo complex and then a couple houses to our back door - he never had to cross a road, and most of the way there were numerous other kids.

    At the end of grade 3 he did not want to go back to program and was doing well coming home alone and letting himself in the house if I wasn't home quite yet. We decided to try it out for the rest of grade 3 and he would get signed up for program, if possible, if it wasn't working out. He had no trouble staying home for about 1 hour on his own a few afternoons a week - we did have a couple stay at home moms nearby and an elderly neighbour next door that is always home, so he knew where he could go if there was an emergency, and he had my phone number in his planner (plus had it memorized). He would call me when he got home just to let me know he was there.
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    We have just started using the scooter alone to go back and forth to school. It is a couple blocks away and the first few days I trailed after her to make sure she knew the ground rules. She does cross one street without a crossing guard but she is very careful and so far no trouble. She turns 8 the beginnning of July and is in grade 2.

    I think I was more nervous than her. Can't believe my "little girl" is growing up so fast.






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    I always look at it as safety in numbers. Any child alone makes me nervous, but I'd be more apt to let a littler kid walk in a group than a middle aged kid walk alone, know what I mean?
    It also matters where you live. Roads to cross, or if you 'know' people along the way. Even if you don't know them super well, just to know some familiar or safe places to turn to if there's trouble. If they're locked out, they should know where to go. Or if someone bothers them, or a dog is chasing them or something.

    For coming home to an empty house I would probably say at least grade 6, but it totally depends on the child.
    My son is in grade seven and I still owuldn't trust him with our house key. So if I'm not able to be home in time I leave a key with my friend nearby and he retrieves it: she can then text me he got home ok, and he can get the key without losing it fifteen times over the course of his day
    If my almost 9 year old will be home before me without her brother for some reason, she goes to a friend's til I can get here.
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    My daughter started walking home by herself in grade 2 and I was home when she got there.

    In Grade 3 she walks home by herself, lets herself in with our keypad, and is home for about 4 to 5 minutes by herself before I get home. Depending if the bus is on time or late. Sometimes I'm pulling in the driveway as she gets there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingalls View Post
    I always look at it as safety in numbers. Any child alone makes me nervous, but I'd be more apt to let a littler kid walk in a group than a middle aged kid walk alone, know what I mean?
    It also matters where you live. Roads to cross, or if you 'know' people along the way. Even if you don't know them super well, just to know some familiar or safe places to turn to if there's trouble. If they're locked out, they should know where to go. Or if someone bothers them, or a dog is chasing them or something.

    For coming home to an empty house I would probably say at least grade 6, but it totally depends on the child.
    My son is in grade seven and I still owuldn't trust him with our house key. So if I'm not able to be home in time I leave a key with my friend nearby and he retrieves it: she can then text me he got home ok, and he can get the key without losing it fifteen times over the course of his day
    If my almost 9 year old will be home before me without her brother for some reason, she goes to a friend's til I can get here.
    I do think parents that stay home and parents that work are 2 different groups. If the parents are looking at the 2 choices of being home or having their child home alone, then it is different from the 2 choices of paying $900 (for your 2 children) or having them home alone each month.

    Actually, I just realized the 2 choices in your situation for a working parent are paying $450/month for your daughter and your 12 year old being home alone OR quitting your job. After school programs end when your child turns 12, and there are few children their age to play with by then. Working parents lose both After School program AND subsidized daycare on the 12th birthday. The government has the opposite opinion as you: "no child requires after school care after/during grade 6" compared to "at least grade 6 to stay home alone".
    Last edited by melissawilliam; 05-21-2016 at 11:35 AM.

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    Personally back in the olden days I walked to and from school on my own in kindergarten. My own kids -- they are bus students. My oldest would have been fine walking that 200-300m from the bus stop home at 6-7. She's walked a few times at 7-8 when her sister has been sick. My middle is spontaneous and doesn't always check before crossing the road, so definitely not for her.

    And regarding coming home and staying home for 45 minutes? I would say pretty soon for my oldest... I would feel comfortable leaving her home alone to pick up pizza or something at her age and maturity.

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