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Mumsnet jury, votes needed please, would you let your DC walk home from school alone age 10 and 8

(26 Posts)
memoo Fri 04-Sep-09 11:31:14

DD is year 6 and DS is year 4.

I am quite happy to let DD walk home on her own but DS wants to walk with his sister.

School is only a 5 minute walk but they have a really busy main road to cross, there is a zebra crossing but half the bloody cars don't stop even when they can see you stood there.

DD says she will collect DS and they can walk home together

I am inclined to let them but its DS I worry about and not sure its fair to let DD have responsiblity for her brother as well.

juuule Fri 04-Sep-09 11:32:25


paddingtonbear1 Fri 04-Sep-09 11:35:23

I don't think I would, especially with the main road.

cat64 Fri 04-Sep-09 11:36:11

Message withdrawn

RoryGilmore Fri 04-Sep-09 11:38:20


GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 04-Sep-09 11:39:02

No. We have similar walk timewise and also with a main road - traffic light crossing but some b****ds just won't stop. Your oldest needs to learn that and may be fine, but I wouldn't feel comfortable letting a Y6 be reponsible for a Y4 in those circs.

memoo Fri 04-Sep-09 11:40:59

I really trust DD but it does seem a bit much to me to let her be responsible for her 8 year old brother.

So if I go and pick DS up but let DD walk alone how do I work it?

andirobobo Fri 04-Sep-09 12:44:55

You need to let DD walk on her own as I guess she will be at secondary school next year, and making her own wany home. She will either be in front of you or behind you, but not with you and DS.

It may be wise to start teaching DS to become able to cross the main road, by letting him walk from school to it by himself, and you meeting him there, or between it and school. Then as the weeks go on, extend it more, so that by the summer he is able to cross the road himself.

He has got to learn that (I am assuming) that DD did not walk home on her own when she was in Yr4, so he has to earn the right (may be next year depending on how he does).

Baby steps approach is the way - and I guess not many of his Yr4 friends are walking home on their own. It will get worse as the nights get darker, so he needs to be confident at getting across the road before he can go it alone.

cat64 Fri 04-Sep-09 12:48:35

Message withdrawn

hayes Fri 04-Sep-09 12:54:39

my initial thought when I looked a the title was yes, but if the road is as bad as you say maybe not

our school crossing doesn't have anyone in place since the last lady retired over a year ago, apparantly its a hard position to fill and legally the Council doesn't have to provide one

bidibidi Fri 04-Sep-09 12:57:53

My gut feeling is yes, but it depends a lot on the DC involved. Basically, you have to teach them to assume that car drivers are completely blind. If the proceed on that assumption, they should be okay.

Maria2007 Fri 04-Sep-09 13:02:49

Sigh. I think I wouldn't . But I wish I lived in circumstances where I felt I could . I think one of the main things children need is more freedom to move around on their own, and most of us parents are not able / willing to allow it because we're too scared (often for good reasons- e.g. traffic-, sometimes due to paranoia).

Maria2007 Fri 04-Sep-09 13:04:24

Oops sorry. Just reread your post. I thought you said your children were 6 & 4 (in which case I would never let them, although my parents used to let me play outside freely at that age when I grew up).

But if they're 10 & 8, I would definitely let them, but would make some groundrules & would make sure they were prepared to stick to them. A 5 min walk to school? Surely that's possible for a 10 year old and an 8 year old?

OrmIrian Fri 04-Sep-09 13:04:47

THat is what we are going to do from next week onwards. It depends on your children and where you live.

Buda Fri 04-Sep-09 13:07:14

How about a compromise? DD collects DS and walks him as far as the main road where you meet them.

CarmelaDeAngelis Fri 04-Sep-09 13:47:45

I think Buda's compromise sounds good.

I wouldn't let your 10y old have to be responsible for seeing her 8y old brother accross a road where you know some of the drivers regularly ignore the crossing.

Bad drivers! angry

Fennel Fri 04-Sep-09 13:50:38

We have a similar walk - 5 mins but the main road isn't that safe, cars rush down it, and there's no zebra crossing or lollipop person. My dds do walk home alone/together from 6 or 7 but they cross the main road with someone else - small school they know many of the other families so can just tag across with a friendly parent. Can yours do that?

kickassangel Fri 04-Sep-09 14:01:26

when i did child development I read something that said children under 10 don't process estimated speed/distance of a car accurately. so, however trustworthy your kids are, they are more likely to make a genuine mistake about whether a car is far enough away/stopping or not. i think the meeting them at the crossing is a good idea, at least to start with - then you could 'spy' on them as they approach & get a feel for how they're coping?

Reallytired Fri 04-Sep-09 16:11:12

I think a lot depends on how sensible the kids are. As a parent you know your children better than any mumsnet jury.

I would only let the 8 year walk if you think he can cope on his own. He may well play up his sister and be a total nightmare for her.

I think that Buda's suggestion is good.

OtterInaSkoda Fri 04-Sep-09 16:20:24

I was going to say "yes" memoo, but reading the whole post I think it's a "no", on account of the road. I also like Buda's idea.

watfordmummy Fri 04-Sep-09 16:21:11

yes, but as long as you have taught your kids road safety.

They say that accident rates rise in Yr 7 as children generally haven't been allowed out on own before.

memoo Fri 04-Sep-09 18:07:05

I also like your idea buda, I think its a good compromise. DD has choir on a tuesday which means she stays later, I think I might let her walk home on her own on tuesdays and see how she gets on.

The more I think about it making DD responsible for getting her brother home safely just isn't fair on her at all.

andirobobo you're right, there is no way I would have let DD walk home alone when she was in year 4

Thanks for some great advice everyone

seeker Fri 04-Sep-09 18:12:45

It depends. If your ds would play his sister up then definitely not. If he's a sensible chap and they get on well, then definitely yes.

My ds is older - she's 13 - but she and her 8 year old brother go to lots of places together - bus and train to town to shop and have lunch, bus, train, bus to the stables to ride, 5 mile bike ride to friends.....

So a 5 minute walk home at 10 ans 8 sounds fine to me.

colditz Fri 04-Sep-09 18:13:37

Maybe. Depends.

serenity Fri 04-Sep-09 18:16:51

I let the DSs walk home, and let themselves in at that age, but although they had a busy road to cross it had a proper pedestrian crossing, so no worries about the road. I wouldn't have let them do it if I hadn't known that they were pretty sensible, and got on well enough that there would be no friction or bickering.

I generally did it when they didn't want to pop into Sainsbury's with me. I'd take DD with me, and drop them off partway (about 10 minutes walk). I'll admit that I always called DH when I did it, and he'd ring home about the time they should get there (I think they think it was a coincidence...)

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