Readers weigh in on right age to let kids walk...
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Sep 02, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Readers weigh in on right age to let kids walk alone


It seems that most Star readers agree with experts who say that children 9 years or older should be sent to school solo.

A Star poll found about 45 per cent, or 839of 1,856 total respondents, also deem 9 the right age to let kids navigate city roads without adult guidance.

On the opposite end, 2.6 per cent, or 48 respondents,think you should never let your kid walk to school — no matter their age — since it is “safer to drive.”

But the safety-conscious attitude of some poll respondents drew the ire of others.

“I was walking to school when I was 5,” said one respondent, Steve. “We thought nothing of it. Neurotic parents who hover over their children, the way so many do these days, are destined to have some very weak, dependent adult children on their hands who will be barely able to stand on their own two feet.”

Almost 17 per cent, or 315voters, had beliefs in line with Steve’s, arguing “you need to cut the cord early” and children should be walking alone as young as 6.

“I let my son walk alone to school at age 6,” wrote Sue Ellen, “but only when other kids were walking at the same time. If he had to go to school earlier or stay late, I walked him.”

Parental concerns range from traffic and distance to stranger danger and their child’s own maturity and intelligence levels.

But, suggests one commenter, it’s not so much about the kids or how old they are or how ready and willing they are to walk alone: “It’s the parents who aren’t ready.”

“When I’m walking my kids home, it’s me who watches the cars, it’s me who watches the strangers,” the person commented. “When I let them walk home by themselves . . . (from a distance) I was amazed at how alert they were to every car, every person.”

About 5.5per cent, or 102voters, think high school is the right time to cut the cord. However, about 30 per cent, or 552 voters, think you need to stop walking your kids to school when they’re 11 or 12: “if you wait any longer you’ll embarrass your kids.”

For nervous parents, one respondent suggested a walking school bus.

“Parents take turns walking kids to school. They follow the same route everyday and any child can join in the group. The parent walks at the head of the line and leads the kids right to the schoolyard. Kids are under the watchful eye of an adult and yet feel the beginning of independence of walking without a parent.”

Toronto Star

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