to think it is just fine if my son walks home from school with other DC?(34 Posts)
We live in a small town. Our house is two and a half blocks from the school. DS is seven and a half. (We're American so he is in first grade, his second year of "real" school.)
I don't drive and am a PT childminder. The first few months of school I took my mindees (two young toddlers, one my own DD, and two five year olds) and walked to pick DS up every day.
Now we've got snow on the ground so I can't push the double stroller, plus it can get down to -20 and below so not weather I'd want to bring the little ones out in.
I decided to ask a local mother whose kids walk past ours every day if DS could walk with them. Her kids are 7, 9, and 11. The nine year old (the only girl) is particularly cautious and responsible so I'm completely comfortable with this. (I'm not worried about DS being kidnapped or anything, just that he wouldn't look for cars well enough). Local mother said sure and that if it got really cold she'd pick them up.
All going well. The issue is my mother. She seems to think that this is a major "devil may care" attitude on my part and questions me about it all the time, if DS is still doing it, if I worry, if it's all working out etc.
She's actually got me paranoid that there's something wrong with this! Surely a seven year old can walk home for TWO blocks in the company of some older sensible children, or AIBU?
I wouldn't do it, but you know the situation.
I don't think it's right for them to have the responsibility.
He is not on the streets alone, he is walking with two older dc. This is an excellent opportunity for him to develop his social skills and independence skills.
I can tell you all sorts if stuff but the main thing is that it's none of your dm's business. Is she involved usually? It's clearly the cultural norm where you live and everyone concerned is happy.
people will come on and tell you they wouldn't but then I have also read threads about European countries and Australia where 4 year olds walk on their own as a usual thing.
My children started walking part of the way home aged 7, but not crossing roads until age 9. What crossing arrangements are there at the cross streets? If there is a pedestrian crossing with a man that lights up when it's safe to cross, then I think most 7 year olds could do this safely.
On the subject of crossing the road and cultural differences, my children find it very strange that there is a (American) song called "Don't cross the street in the middle of the block" when they have been trained from a young age never to cross near a junction, but always find a straight piece of road with no parked cars for greatest visibility in both directions. I had to explain the grid street system.
I have mixed views here - in that I think he is fine to probably walk home alone but it is unfair to put "responsibility" for his safety on other children's shoulders. I think it should be all or nothing - trust him on his own or not at all.
Thefirst the only stoplight we have with a pedestrian crossing thing is downtown, that's how small the town is.
They have to cross two streets. By one there would normally be a school patrol (older children with high viz vests and stop signs who guide the little ones across) but the 11 year old is a member of the school patrol so they wait for him to be done and then walk. So there's not a patrol kid there at the time.
Then they walk a block and cross another road. That's the only one I worry about (if DH were to be alone) because it's straight out of the school parking lot and the aides and some of the teachers are on their way home so it's a bit busier.
Is my mother normally involved? That made me . Yes is the short answer. She and I are close, but opposite to each other in almost all things. She thinks I'm too lazy about almost everything, I think she needs to unclench a bit about almost everything. She had a lot to say when DS was a baby but as he's grown (and since the addition of DD) I've gotten better at calmly telling her that I'm fine with my parenting decisions.
Oh and I am also pregnant with DC3 and would worry about slipping on the ice even without the issue of the other DC.
DS, not DH. DH can cross the road without help
Pasta I get that. I thought about that but the mother said the nine year old in particular would be thrilled with the responsibility (she's one of those take charge little girls, can't wait to babysit etc) They were all in tae kwon do together for a few years so I know them fairly well.
In a few years I would be happy for DS to walk a smaller child home.
From 4.5 I walked to school with my best friend who was 6. It was along a reasonably busy road, and the only crossing point had a lollypop man, so we didn't have to cross a road by ourselves, but we just cracked on and did it without thinking or worrying... I was walking the dog by myself by 7, having to cross the main road to get to the park...
It sounds like you have found a perfect situation, with safe companions for your son...
Sounds fine to me. My DS 2 who is nearly 8 is keen to walk yo school on his own. To be honest, he'd be fine. We are in London, and it's 250yards...only one road with a zebra to cross. However we have an AP, and if I'm at home I like to walk him and DS1 (10) to school and have a chat.
In your situation I'd absolutely let a 7yo walk with older friends.
I'd be hard pressed to do it myself, but I don't know your village or your neighbourhood.
As for your mother, she has a right to express her opinion, once, politely. After all she is your mother. Over and above that, she is way out of order if she tries telling you how you should or shouldn't bring up your kids. For me the same goes with sister, MIL, work colleagues, anyone, except maybe best friends who I'll let bang on about things if for no other reason than it challenges my opinion and reasoning to have to explain myself to them.
So I'd be putting mum in her place and telling her you heared her the first time and she should butt out. It's none of her business.
except maybe best friends who I'll let bang on about things if for no other reason than it challenges my opinion and reasoning to have to explain myself to them.
Why doesn't that happen with your mother? After all, your decisions matter more to her as they affect her DGC which isn't the case with your friends.
My DD (7) walks to school with her mate in the same class.
If her friend does not call, she likes me to accompany her, but with her friend wants to be a 'big girl'.(we are in Aus- big city but 800m and 2 unpatrolled streets to cross, away from school)
I believe you have to give them some responsibility- you cannot suddenly throw them out to cope with the world at 16, it has to come little by little.
If you are in a safe neighbourhood traffic wise, I think it is a great way to show a child you trust them and they can be responsible.
I see that you don't want to drag the other children out in the snow/ice twice a day, but you shouldn't be a prisoner in your own home for the entire winter. Get some Yaktrax.
I don't think YABU but I speak as someone who walked home from school aged 5, as did everyone else in my small town.
Your mother is expressing her own fears so it's really about her, not you.
If it is not bothering you, your DS and the other kids, then you just have to stay strong.
FWIW, my DS started to walk home in Y5, so 10 yo. Honestly, some parents comments, you'd think I'd fed him to the wolves.
This will be just one of many situations where you may find yourself at odds with family/other parents, so chin-up, stay strong.
There are a few issues here.
Is your DC safe? Sounds like you've made an excellent arrangement here, so yes to that. Plus he is learning a small step to independence.
Should your DM keep going on about it? No, talking about it once is fine but she has to let you make the right decisions for your child.
Linked to the second, are you a negligent/lazy mum? Definitely not. You have explained your reasons to DM so now she needs to butt out and shut up. She's trying to make you feel bad about this and that's pretty crap.
I walked to and from school by myself or with friends from the age of 7. Normal ro me. Here the school insists on an adult being present until they are 10
Maybe your mother can pick him up from school as she's so concerned about it
TheFirst oh, I'm not! There is a particularly slippery stretch of sidewalk on the way to the school... I fell carrying baby DD last year. We were both hurt but not seriously. I'd just worry about that part. I go places all the time.
VeryStressed I'll mention that to her! She lives a five hour drive away so she may turn me down though. ;o
I walked 10 mins to and from school from the age of 7 with another friend who was also 7. There was one busy road to cross and we were shown where to cross safely.
I still remember doing that journey because it was the first proper independence I had, and it made me feel grown up.
I think with a trained crossing aide and an 11 yo, it's absolutely fine provided the older children are happy with it.
It's only once a day. He eats breakfast at school so DH can drop him off and still be to work on time. That is also a wonderful arrangment. The breakfast at school is pretty good nutritionally (once I put the kibosh on DS choosing Trix every day anyway). And our mornings are infinitely more smooth...no dawdling over breakfast, no spilling and having to change etc.
My.mother took issue with that too. "It's such a long day for him!" He goes to school at 7:45 instead of 8. Sigh.
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