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To let an 8 year old walk alone 400m to school?

(102 Posts)
hibbledibble Fri 23-Feb-18 12:24:12

I am wondering what is considered normal nowadays in terms of freedom.

1) At what age would you let a child walk 400m to school alone through a rural village? Quiet roads and safe rural community.

2) At what age would you let a child walk around 1 mile to school in a city? Rough area, with the walk partially through council estates.

Minisoksmakehardwork Fri 23-Feb-18 13:00:53

My dc's current school won't let anyone below year 5 walk home alone and they have to have a signed slip from parents. The old one wasn't quite so strict until recently so check with the School what their policy is.

Otherwise, I find short walks/rides to a friends house/the park/running to the nearest shop are good ways of building up independence.

Especially in rural areas it is easy to get a false sense of comfort. They still need to be taught stranger danger. Imo 8 is the right age to be starting this. Mine did it knowing I would be arriving at school with younger siblings so had the safety net of me being behind if just out of sight. The first time I asked her to walk on her own, she got to the corner of our straight road and came back in tears as she was scared. She'd actually walked further to come back home than to carry on to school.

x2boys Fri 23-Feb-18 13:03:55

Well my kids walk through a council estate everyday as we live on one hmm we live about 1 1/2 miles away from ds1 school across lots of main roads its too far to walk so I take him in a taxi hes 11 if we lived 400 meters I would let probably let him at 8

hibbledibble Fri 23-Feb-18 13:34:54

x2boys I also walk through council estates every day. It is not a criticism, just giving a candid description of the walk. I'm surprised that you think a walk around of 1.5 miles is too far to walk. The taxis must cost a lot.

I'm genuinely curious as to what opinions are on this matter.

AlmostSpringtime Fri 23-Feb-18 13:52:43

I find these threads amazing. My local school has children from y1 and possibly yr walking home alone or with not much older siblings and no one bats an eye lid.

Drives me mad!

TheHungryDonkey Fri 23-Feb-18 13:58:10

I find it more amazing that people couldn’t consider that some people live in well dodgy areas with an end of motorway crossing and major central arterial roads where stopping for red lights is apparently optional. I wouldn’t let my ten year old walk to school through an area that adults on Facebook deem to unsafe to walk through alone.

goodbyestranger Fri 23-Feb-18 14:00:07

We live in a rural village and DD4 walked back home alone - about half a mile - from the start of Y4 when she was 8. It meant she could be flexible and play in the play park with other DC if that's what they wanted to do or come straight home if it was a more miserable day. That seemed absolutely fine to me, but it is a very safe village and DD4 was very sensible, even at that age.

SweetMoon Fri 23-Feb-18 14:01:36

400m is hardly far. So at 8 I wouldn't have a problem with this. Mainly because mine walked about that far at that age and I didn't even consider why they wouldn't. No big roads to cross though and not a rough area.

goodbyestranger Fri 23-Feb-18 14:03:10

Yes agreed. Had we lived in a dodgy area I wouldn't have thought it ok.

OutyMcOutface Fri 23-Feb-18 14:03:29

1) between 8 and 10 depending on the child.
2) not at all

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 23-Feb-18 14:07:14

1. 7/8
2. Secondary school so 11?

Parker231 Fri 23-Feb-18 14:12:03

Mine started getting the tube to and from school on their own a couple of months after their 10th birthday. Five minutes walk at either end.

martellandginger Fri 23-Feb-18 14:12:10

Who the hell lets their 5 year old child walk to school alone??

My school was 4 houses away and in the sleepiest village ever - still is and my parents were blasé about everything but they picked me up from school.

HollyBayTree Fri 23-Feb-18 14:13:02

1.5 miles is a 20 minute walk. Unless there is a disalbility to be factored in, that's, well, mind boggling that you call a taxi

TheShapeofYou Fri 23-Feb-18 14:17:40

My eldest is 7 and in Yr1. He's been asking to walk to school by himself for a while, but we have two very busy roads/A cross road to cross.

When he transfers to Juniors in Sept the walk will be more child-friendly so I'm going to consider it when he's around 8 or 9.

Invisimamma Fri 23-Feb-18 14:18:00

My 7yr old walks roughly this distance to school by himself (calls for a friend about half way). It’s a quiet residential area, one road which I watch him cross from our front door.

I collect him at home time though as I want to make sure he comes straight home and doesn’t go to park or shop without me knowing. He doesn’t get to ‘play out’ generally but the walk to school is fine.

steppemum Fri 23-Feb-18 14:19:15

1.5 miles is NOT a 20 minute walk.
An adult walks at 3 miles an hour, a child slower, so minimum 30 minutes.

Fine on a nice day, bloody miserable on a wet dark morning.

DownstairsMixUp Fri 23-Feb-18 14:19:38

This is interesting. My sons primary school won't allow it till year 5, my son turns 9 in September when he goes into year 4 and really wants to walk, it's about a mile and a quiet area but school definitely do not allow it

BarbarianMum Fri 23-Feb-18 14:20:28

1. 8/9
2. 9 with a friend, 10/11 alone (more to do w distance than council estates).

steppemum Fri 23-Feb-18 14:20:52

Oh, and the adult then gets to walk the 1.5 miles home, and then repeat in the afternoon.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 23-Feb-18 14:21:19

so minimum 30 minutes

I had a 2 mile walk to school - took me 35 mins....

hibbledibble Fri 23-Feb-18 14:22:09

almost where do you live? I'm curious where that is considered the norm.

Armi Fri 23-Feb-18 14:24:47

They do move a lot quicker if being chased by gangs of other kids.


Helpimfalling Fri 23-Feb-18 14:24:47

I don't let my nine and ten year old walk alone they walk as a pair together and I face time all the way if ones off then I will walk the other to school but we make sure we face time all the way or at the beginning middle and end when they've got there

My 12 nearly 13 year old walks alone and I'd love it if he called me when he get to school but he's a pain in the ass and doesn't

We live a ten min walk to the little ones school council estate

And twenty mins from big ones school

I'd let them walk alone only at secondary school age or younger as a pair with a phone

MargoLovebutter Fri 23-Feb-18 14:24:52

These things are always a risk analysis exercise and everyone's risk assessment will be different.

FWIW, more accidents happen inside the home than anywhere else, so I always think if you know your own child, set them up for success by giving them all the necessary safety advice, then you will probably make the right decision.

Very few bad things happen in either location to children - the greatest risk is probably being hit by a car, so it will depend on what traffic is like in each environment.

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