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when to let your kid walk home alone?


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#1 Slave Self Promoted

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:19 AM

jay and i are grappling with the idea of starting to let mack walk home from school alone. we're less than .5 miles from the school, she has her own key, and a cell phone equipped with a gps that can track her within a few yards. if she's in a home, we have the address, if she's on the move, we have the road and mph she's moving at, as well as the route she's taken at that speed so far. she's also been schooled on dirty self defense (legitimate maiming) and is a very smart, responsible girl.
the idea of letting her walk home alone is a giant, freaky step for us, though we were both much younger than her when our leashes were let up and we were able to walk home alone.


parents of older kids, what has been your experience? parents of younger kids, when do you think you'll be ready to let your babies take that step?

thanks peeps. :mrgreen:

#2 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:44 AM

Depends.

#3 Eco

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:45 AM

Might want to check your state's database of where sex offenders live....

My 11 year old can venture off about 1/2 mile on her own and maybe a mile with a friend due to her mother's restrictions. If it was up to me she could bike to school which is about 3 miles away.

#4 Ginger Snap

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:58 AM

My kids started walking home from school three blocks without an adult when Abby was in second and Jerry was in third grades.It's not how I would have had it, but I had little choice as I had to work and their father doesn't help with this kind of stuff. I used to go to work as early as I could so that I could get home as early as I could so they wouldn't be home too long by themselves-it was about an hour those first couple of years.

I just talked to the kids about this and Abby piped up, "See if there's a group of kids that she can walk with as far home as possible." They both told me that there were many times that they were nervous and wished they had an adult- not because anything had happened, but because they would have felt safer with an adult. And our family had the bonus that Jerry and Abby have always had each other so never truly feel alone.

Looking back if I had the ability I would have waited another year, but we managed...and you know my kids. Abby says nine. What does Mack think about it?

#5 Slave Self Promoted

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:08 AM

mack is 9. she's nervous, and has an open invitation to spend the 2 hours after school with her bff, but tempers are flaring and she needs an "out" for days when she'd just rather not hang out after school. it wouldn't be an every day thing. maybe once or twice a week. i start a full time shift with an MS client tomorrow in another town and no longer have the ability to sneak out of work and drive a couple blocks to pick her up. jay gets out of work shortly after mack would arrive home, so he'd be home less than an hour after she's let out of school. the walk takes 15 minutes. she's also refused any offers of after school programs.

#6 Ginger Snap

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:15 AM

Personally I'd let her do it. Abby said if she's nervous while walking home she could call someone to talk to on her way- although I think that is probably not the best idea because if she's talking to you, than she's not paying attention to her surroundings, but it's good she has the cellphone.

#7 Mama Kel

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

I'm not sure when I'd be ready to do this but I'm a nervous nelly w/ my kids when it comes to stuff like this. Is there anyone else she could walk part or all of the way with? The kids here walk to/from school but they usually do it in a group. Could she ride her bike? Personally I'd be more nervous about the walk than staying home alone.

Plus all this is hard to say not knowing where you live or where she'd be walking

#8 Ginger Snap

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:41 PM

I like the bike riding idea.

#9 Karen

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:51 PM

mack is 9. she's nervous, and has an open invitation to spend the 2 hours after school with her bff, but tempers are flaring and she needs an "out" for days when she'd just rather not hang out after school. it wouldn't be an every day thing. maybe once or twice a week. i start a full time shift with an MS client tomorrow in another town and no longer have the ability to sneak out of work and drive a couple blocks to pick her up. jay gets out of work shortly after mack would arrive home, so he'd be home less than an hour after she's let out of school. the walk takes 15 minutes. she's also refused any offers of after school programs.


I would not make the after school program a yes/no option. If it is available, I would send her there instead of allowing her to walk home alone/be home alone even for an hour. Nine is young for that and I don't think it's worth the risk.

This is my personal opinion only :)

#10 hoagie

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:53 PM

I walked home from school ( maybe about a mile) every day from 3rd-5th grade. Usually in a group, sometimes just with my little sister. Parents got home around 5ish. I think shed be fine if she had a buddy to walk/ride with. Its not that scary once she does it for like a week straight.

In fact, its probably way worse worruing about this than actually letting her walk. Let go, mom!



#11 TEO

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

I would not make the after school program a yes/no option. If it is available, I would send her there instead of allowing her to walk home alone/be home alone even for an hour. Nine is young for that and I don't think it's worth the risk.

This is my personal opinion only :)


Agreed with this, even though me and my brother had a 1/2 mile walk home from the bus, it was in the country on a quiet dirt road when that age.

#12 Geminimoon

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:21 PM

It is a scary thing to do these days.....

I think I would let her walk but watch her doing it without her seeing for a while.

#13 Depends

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:17 PM

The walking home at 9 to me is OK. A 9 YO home alone is a different story. (IMO)

#14 unbroken_chain

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:44 PM

oh man. only if she wears this costume
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#15 Slave Self Promoted

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:19 PM

so it's become a non-issue. i swallowed my pride and asked her bff's mom to drive her home if she's ever too tired or too grumpy to play after school, and she's yet to have to do so.

letting her be home alone for an hour is not a problem in my opinion. she locks the door behind her, has her phone on hand, and knows not to use the oven or stove. it's the only hour of the day that she would have the peace that comes with her little sister still being in day care. :lol:

#16 Ginger Snap

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

so it's become a non-issue. i swallowed my pride and asked her bff's mom to drive her home if she's ever too tired or too grumpy to play after school, and she's yet to have to do so.

letting her be home alone for an hour is not a problem in my opinion. she locks the door behind her, has her phone on hand, and knows not to use the oven or stove. it's the only hour of the day that she would have the peace that comes with her little sister still being in day care. :lol:


This is great! good plan. :smile:

I love you sister. :heart:

#17 Mama Kel

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:48 PM

glad you found a solution!!

#18 Ginger Snap

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:02 PM

Sometimes you have to ask for a little help. No shame in that. :heart: So I'm told.:lol:

#19 Geminimoon

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:36 PM

letting her be home alone for an hour is not a problem in my opinion. she locks the door behind her, has her phone on hand, and knows not to use the oven or stove. it's the only hour of the day that she would have the peace that comes with her little sister still being in day care. :lol:


I think that is great.... I was a latch key kid for most of my life.

Being home alone doesn't scare me. If you are really concerned about stove use and such you can buy locks for the knobs and oven door.

What is scary to me is so many kids being abducted on the short walk home from school.

People can be scary.

#20 Mama Kel

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

I think that is great.... I was a latch key kid for most of my life.

Being home alone doesn't scare me. If you are really concerned about stove use and such you can buy locks for the knobs and oven door.

What is scary to me is so many kids being abducted on the short walk home from school.

People can be scary.


This. I feel the same way. We live in a neighborhood w/ a school & the kids walk. Over the years there have been a few sketchy characters lurking about :(

#21 Ginger Snap

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

Of course we should always be cautious and be sure to ensure our kids safety as much as possible, but I think folks forget that the people most likely to hurt our children are ones that we know and often trust, rather than some super creepy stranger. Just sayin.

#22 Mama Kel

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:57 AM

This is true but I can attest to the fact that school neighborhoods do attract the creeps. At least around here :( Seen it first hand sadly

#23 unbroken_chain

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

Of course we should always be cautious and be sure to ensure our kids safety as much as possible, but I think folks forget that the people most likely to hurt our children are ones that we know and often trust, rather than some super creepy stranger. Just sayin.


yep....I have had to FREAK out on my ex about certain persons she is "friends" with being alone with my kids.... this is mostly historical stuff, as my kids are now sort of past the "danger zone"

Lynn will attack.... Sierra a bit more passive but she's no joke when angry.

#24 hoagie

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:23 PM

There is a such thing as being over-protective and unrealistically afraid.

#25 unbroken_chain

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

and vice versa.

#26 unbroken_chain

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:47 PM

my viewpoint was,

is there a 1% or greater chance that this could result in the death of my child (for example letting them ride on the back of a friends motorcycle for "fun")

YES - then no.

No? then ok.

#27 Ginger Snap

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

There is a such thing as being over-protective and unrealistically afraid.


I agree. Raising my kids I work really hard trying to balance protecting and keeping them safe with allowing them the freedom to become responsible and competent people. I think one of the main ways children become responsible adults is by giving them some freedom and the responsibility for themselves that goes along with that. It's also important to arm them with as many tools and skills as possible to take care of themselves because I'm not always going to be there. It's hard and people judge, but you do the best you can. Fortunately my daughter has hyper creeper intuition and vocalizes her thoughts and feelings.

#28 hoagie

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

I agree. Raising my kids I work really hard trying to balance protecting and keeping them safe with allowing them the freedom to become responsible and competent people. I think one of the main ways children become responsible adults is by giving them some freedom and the responsibility for themselves that goes along with that. It's also important to arm them with as many tools and skills as possible to take care of themselves because I'm not always going to be there. It's hard and people judge, but you do the best you can. Fortunately my daughter has hyper creeper intuition and vocalizes her thoughts and feelings.


I grew up in Elizabeth NJ...it was a pretty safe neighborhood where we lived, but it wasnt very far from some grimier areas....and my parents were letting my brother and I go downtown to Broad St to walk around, do our thing, etc....and we were taking the train to NYC!

This is why, when I was 15, I worked as a courier for my dad in New York, running files from his office in Brooklyn to the courthouse in Manhatten, using the subway. I really think that the world is WAY scarier in a parents mind than in actual reality. Just my 2 bits