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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    673
    I think it depends on the child. I was allowed to walk the block from school to my grandmother's house around seven or so but it wasn't across busy streets. My dad used to walk a mile to kindergarten each day.

    Have you heard about free range kids? (http://www.freerangekids.com/) It's a movement to let kids have more freedom and not be as overprotective. Kids are actually safer now then they've ever been during any time in history. It's exceedingly rare for a child to be abducted by a stranger. Your child is far more likely to be struck by lightning then abducted. And Maggiefromcanada is very right that they are in more danger being driven to school since so many children die each year car accidents.
    Mother to: Patrick Werner (3/10) and Mary Claire (06/12)

  2. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    682
    I would say that it depends on the temperment of the kid, the safety of the route, and the distance. Mostly the temperment of the kid, really. I lived in LA for five years and used to see kids that age taking the subway and city bus alone to get to school all of the time.

    My sister and I used to walk a mile to and from the bus stop for school. She is two years older than me, I walked with her from kindergarten on, so she was seven and I was five. I am not sure how old she was when she started walking to and from the bus stop on her own, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was kindergarten on. We grew up in a very rural area so traffic wasn't an issue.

    My husband, son and I now live in a very neighborhood-y neighborhood. There is a school within walking distance that I hope our son gets into (its a magnet, so it's a lottery to get in.) I would probably walk him there to start with, but depending on how level headed he is at that point, I might let him walk alone at age seven. He is not quite two now, so I can't really tell yet if he's going to be able to walk home alone at age seven. But definitely by nine, I would think.

  3. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    168
    Feberin-- this made me think of Free Range kids too. Check out the map about halfway down the page here:


    It shows really strikingly how much less free to roam kids have become over the generations.

    I started riding my bike to school in fourth grade. How old is that? 9 or so, I guess.

    7 does seem a little young, but it depends on the kid and the neighborhood.
    Last edited by daisychain; September 5th, 2013 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Fix link

  4. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    168
    Also, the article notes, "Back in the 1970s, 80 percent of British 7- and 8-year-olds were allowed to go to school unsupervised. By 1990, the percentage was 10 percent."

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    491
    I do agree many parents are overprotective now, but in the 1970s, kids also rode in cars with no car seats or seat belts and played with mercury thermometers, because parents were less aware of safety.

    I might let a mature 7 year old walk a block or so to school on a very safe, quiet street if other children were around.

    It's going to depend very much on my child, the neighborhood, etc. I started walking to school at age 11. That seems like a reasonable age for most kids...but a more trusting/gullible child who might fall for a stranger's ploys might not earn that privilege for a few more years. Or a child who has difficulty focusing and might forget to watch for traffic.

    I'd say between the ages of 9-13 most children with no special needs should be able to walk to a neighborhood school alone. Kids develop at different rates. Some 7 year olds seem like virtual babies and others can run with preteens.
    Lillian Elizabeth 6.16.13

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