Letting Your Child Walk To School Unsupervised – When Is The Best Time?

My eldest child has just started in Year 6, his final year in Primary School before progressing to Secondary School. For the past 12 months, Lewis has wanted to walk to school unsupervised, I feel he has matured to a point now that walking to school unsupervised is something he is more than capable of.

At the end of Year 5, it was arranged with a couple of the class Mum’s that our children would start walking into school together, supervised by me and then after a while, the boys would walk without supervision. This worked really well for the term.

At the end of the school day, 9 times out of 10 I would meet Lewis at school unless prearranged that Lewis would meet us elsewhere. This too all worked well.

Now Lewis is in Year 6, his younger sister has joined him at the junior school so we all walk the same direction. Lewis still walks ahead with his friends whereas Leah and I keep further back. I say bye to Lewis at the school gates (it’s not cool standing with Mum in the yard obviously!) and then after school, he would meet me at our business on the local high street. Our business is only a matter of a 2-minute walk from school, in the right direction of our home so it works for us.

But from time to time you hear a horror story of a child going missing for sometime when the parent has trusted them to walk alone to/from school. Thankfully after a couple of hours, the child usually returns safe and sound.

But this has left me asking…

When is the best time to allow your child to walk to school unsupervised?

To help me answer some of the questions relating to children walking unsupervised I have asked some fellow parenting bloggers for their opinions.

Age

Personally, I think most of this comes down to the age of your child because no-one will want to see a child in Years 1&2 walk to school unsupervised to school but seeing a child in Years 5 & 6 isn’t that uncommon. So most often than not its the children in the upper years of Primary School that can be seen making the journey to school unsupervised.

Children on their walk to school
Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos on Unsplash

Maturity

With age comes mental maturity, is your child aware of safety in your local area? Can they cross roads safely? Can your child judge the speed of oncoming vehicles? Is the local area just too busy to let them navigate the local roads to cross?

Sonia over at This Mummy Loves says; My daughter started walking on her own towards the end of year 5 but it is only a short distance home and there were many other people around that she knew at that time. My youngest has just gone into year 5 but he definitely isn’t as mature as my daughter was so it probably won’t be something he will be doing until half way through year 6. 

Location

Obviously the further away from your child’s school you live the more dangers there are about on your child’s route to school. So for a child that would have to walk 2-3 miles unsupervised could be deemed rather dangerous, compared to a child who only has to walk a matter of minutes to the school gate.

Local Area

Sometimes the local area where you live or where the school is may pose a problem.

Sara-Jayne over at Keeping Up With The Jones Family says; “I’d consider letting my nine year old if it wasn’t for parents using the road between us and school like the autobahn.”

School Policy

Sometimes there are even school policies stopping your child from walking to/from school alone.

Maria over at Happy Mummy says; At my daughters school they have a policy that only year 6 are allowed to walk to school alone; all other year groups must have a visible parent/carer.

Safety In Numbers

Last but not least, safety in numbers. I’ve found it’s always best to allow children to walk to school in a group, that way they can each look out for each other and stay safe. Either walking to school with friends or siblings, it makes your child feel responsible and more mature.

Jenny and The Brick Castle says; “Most kids can judge speed of traffic from somewhere around age 8, and if you walk with them every day until then, you know where the danger spots are and you know how careful they are. Mine have all been allowed once I’m happy with their road safety and they want to – mostly age 9 or 10 (year 5 or 6). With siblings it’s vital you know they won’t have a fight instead, and have specific rules on whether anyone is ‘in charge’.”

Are you considering letting your child walk to school unsupervised? I hope some of these tips help.

Perhaps you already let your child walk to school unsupervised. Were some of these motives above what you considered before letting your child go alone/with a group. What are your thoughts?!

Thank you for reading.

For similar posts, be sure to check out my blog.

**This is a personal post.

6 Comments

  1. Jenny @thebrickcastle

    16th September 2019 at 8:20 pm

    My 10yo walked home alone today as it happens! He stayed for an after school club and came home alone – I walked down to meet him even though it’s not far, and he was being very sensible. I do like to spy on them a bit when they’re walking – just to check they follow the road safety rules – even when they’re teenagers 😀

    1. Rebecca Bodkin

      17th September 2019 at 4:57 pm

      I like hearing how you still spy on them, even the older ones. At least when Lewis is a bit older and I’m spying on him I won’t feel too bad. haha. Thank you for your comment x

  2. Kim Carberry

    16th September 2019 at 8:06 pm

    At my girls old school they were only allowed to walk home from year 6 which wasn’t a problem with me. I am a worrier. My girls did walk home alone when they were in year 6 but only if there was a group of them. x

    1. Rebecca Bodkin

      17th September 2019 at 5:00 pm

      I must admit, i’m a worrier too and I much prefer watching Lewis walk to school with his friends or having him walk with his mobile phone so we can talk.

  3. The Reading Residence

    16th September 2019 at 1:12 pm

    This has come up in our house recently. My daughter’s in year 5, but I still need to take her younger brother anyway so she’s OK with us all going together. There are some busy roads on our route that would worry me, though she is normally sensible. I think in our case, it’ll probably be when she moves on to secondary school.

    1. Rebecca Bodkin

      26th September 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you for your comment hun. It’s similar here at the moment, I take my daughter to the same school now but Lewis walks ahead/behind with friends. As I actually type your reply my daughter is at after school club and my son is with a friend in town and we are meeting up shortly but he can easily walk home as we are only 5 minutes walk from town.

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