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DCs travelling on bus on their own

(33 Posts)
brotherhoodofspam Tue 16-Jun-15 20:29:11

I was wondering what the MN jury's opinion is on an appropriate age for DCs to travel on public bus service without an adult. I'm trying to sort holiday activities/childcare for the weeks I'm working over Summer holidays and there's an activity near us that both DCs (aged 10 and 12) would be interested in doing. The problem is it's in the opposite direction from where DH and I work and the start time is too late for us to go there before work. One solution might be for them to get the bus from our village into the (small) town and it's a short walk then to the event. They would only have to do this 2 mornings as I'm able to take them the other days and can pick them up after each day. They're both up for it and DH thinks it would be fine, but they've had a pretty sheltered life so far, living in the middle of nowhere has meant I tend to drive them everywhere and they're not the most street-wise kids, I would do a practice run with them on a day off but am wondering if IABU and irresponsible to even consider this or if it's the sort of thing that lots of kids do by this age?

BarbarianMum Tue 16-Jun-15 20:31:36

No I think that's perfectly reasonable. Your 12 year old will be an adult in 6 short years, ready to leave home, so learning to take the bus now seems a reasonable skill to acquire.

Athenaviolet Tue 16-Jun-15 20:33:37

11 year olds are expected to get public busses to secondary school.

A10 & 12 yr old together is fine, esp on light summer evenings.

Theas18 Tue 16-Jun-15 20:34:49

Depending on how much they have been independent before it'll be fine.

I take it the 12yr old gets himself to school and survives? Round here you need to be mostly public transport savvy by the start of year 7. The younger 2 were leaping on trains to town from year 6.

brotherhoodofspam Tue 16-Jun-15 20:39:56

12 yr old starts secondary after Summer so hasn't had to negotiate buses yet. Good to hear you all think this is ok, I ran it past two RL friends who both said they wouldn't - similar age / slightly older DCs (but even more sheltered than my 2)

Icimoi Tue 16-Jun-15 20:42:05

Seems fine to me. Give them a dry run or two first.

Notso Tue 16-Jun-15 20:45:19

I would say 10-11 is the standard start age for this.

loveandsmiles Tue 16-Jun-15 20:46:05

I think that's oksmile

My DD age 12 had never gone anywhere alone until she started secondary last year - she has to get a bus to school and manages just fine. I would be happy for her to get a bus to an activity and for DS age 10 to accompany her. I am sure they would enjoy this independence.

Starlightbright1 Tue 16-Jun-15 20:46:11

I was going to suggest a trial run fr them..

SoldierBear Tue 16-Jun-15 20:47:40

I wouldn't have a problem with this at all.
I'd think it stranger that they couldn't travel short distances independently at 10 and 12 tbh.

Mehitabel6 Tue 16-Jun-15 21:12:26

Very odd if they couldn't travel it by that age. They ought to get used to it when at secondary, or almost at secondary school.

EastMidsMummy Tue 16-Jun-15 21:15:46

It's getting on a bus! How hard is it for a 12 year old to get on a bus!? A 12 year old!

Mehitabel6 Tue 16-Jun-15 21:25:06

It is a skill they ought to have by that age and if they don't come across it naturally you can make an opportunity.

whois Tue 16-Jun-15 21:32:32

Do it with them once or twice as a practice and it will be totally fine.

MammaTJ Tue 16-Jun-15 21:33:44

In this town it is usually 9, when they start middle school.

Gemauve Tue 16-Jun-15 21:35:05

I managed a graduate trainee a few years ago who was unwilling to get themselves to a meeting in London "because mum says I might get lost". They did say that I took them the first time they might be able to do it a second time. I thought they were joking, but apparently they were deadly serious.

The following day I got a phone call from London asking where they were, and a phone call from their mother, berating me for expecting a 22 year old to be able to travel 100 miles and use public transport at the other end: "I've never let him use the bus because it's dangerous". I said that I wasn't interested, but I did want to know where their child was if they could be bothered to phone the people that were paying them; the subsequent phone call to HR to complain about me from the father went into the annals of the company's legendary stories. The HR director could barely stand up for laughing when they came to tell me about it.

Unsurprisingly, they failed their trial period and were let go. I'd have sacked them on the spot (failure to turn up to work without a legitimate cause is a summary dismissal offence, after all, and "I've got a note from my mum" isn't enough), but HR reckoned that with only a few weeks of their probationary period, it would be easier to just get rid of them at that point.

manicinsomniac Tue 16-Jun-15 21:37:38

I think it's ok. I would let my 8 and 12 year olds do this, I think.

I understand what you mean about village life though. My children haven't really had to be independent, ever, because of where we live. We have a 3 minute walk to school (which we do together because I work there too), they can walk to the local shop in 4 minutes and everything else requires a drive. There is only one bus a day so I don't think we've ever got it in their lives.

In a city, or even a town, I imagine children are public transport savvy much earlier.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 16-Jun-15 21:39:31

shock grin

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 16-Jun-15 21:40:21

That was for Gemauve, btw.

Ludways Tue 16-Jun-15 21:41:47

Manic, that's hilarious!

We moved house when I was 9 and I had to get the bus home from school, I was perfectly ok.

peltata Tue 16-Jun-15 21:43:30

I think you'll be surprised how quickly they get the hang of it smile and will be wanting to say goodbye at the front door on the second day after the dry run.
10 and 12 is certainly old enough if they are keen like you mentioned.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 16-Jun-15 21:44:38

I was getting the bus on my own at the age of about 7, I think, but that was a very long time ago! I don't think my son had used public transport alone until he started secondary school at 11 but he soon got used to it. He'd been walking to school on his own for over a year.

MayPolist Tue 16-Jun-15 21:52:32

Crikey when I read the Op , I thought they were going to be 4 or something!

scarlets Tue 16-Jun-15 21:55:37

I caught a bus with my friend for the first time when we were 10. We thought it was ace! We visited our friend in the next village.

Some holiday activities require a parent to sign the children in, so bear in mind that it mightn't be possible for them to turn up alone.

brotherhoodofspam Tue 16-Jun-15 22:02:20

Good point Scarlets, might have to make sure one of us can at least get there with them the 1st day. Sounds pretty unanimous which is good, please don't judge for not having done this before, they do get school bus (private company) and have done this since aged 5, but as someone said upthread, v. few buses a day from our village and we live 2 miles away from the bus stop anyway, so the need or opportunity hasn't arisen before now.

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