The summer is passing quickgly, and the kids are already beginning to prepare for the next school year. When your kids grow old enough to get themselves to school in the morning, it can be somewhat difficult for the parents to feel comfortable.
The best thing you can do for your kids if they walk or bike to school is to arm them with knowledge. Make sure they understand the potential dangers along the way, and they know exactly what is expected of them.
Here are a few simple things to teach and review with your kids before they begin walking or biking themselves to school.
When are they old enough to go alone
It’s difficult to tell when your children are mentally ready to handle traveling to school on their own, but there are a few studies available to help you decide. An American pediatric study found that children aren’t cognitively developed enough to understand the danger present until around the age of ten.
Ten doesn’t set a rigid standard, as all children develop at different rates. You know your child better than anyone (hopefully). Use your judgment on their maturity when deciding whether or not your kids are ready to walk or bike to school alone.
Prep your kids for the walk
Before ever allowing your children to walk or bike to school the first time, you should do several trial runs.
Travel the route with your kid more than just a few times, so they become more familiar with their surroundings. The more variables you are able to encounter on your trial runs, the more well prepared your kids will be as they set out on their first day.
Teach your children to look, listen, and then walk. Crossing the road can be very dangerous, and pedestrians can get very hurt. Teach your children vigilance, and keep them safer on their way to class.
The buddy system is safer
Teach your kids to travel in pairs or packs. Traveling to school with a group of kids is much safer than sending your kid to school alone. As a matter of fact, just don’t send your kid to school all alone.
When your kids are traveling on their bikes, teach them how to safely ride in a staggered line. Riding in this pattern will help them have time to adjust should a car pass or someone is walking.
Biking is a little different
Biking is a bit different than walking. If your kid is biking, you need to make sure they have the proper safety gear. Before they ever leave the house, they need a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads properly fitted and adjusted.
You should also teach your children proper signaling gestures before they hit the road. Bikers that signal their movements are much less likely to find themselves in a tough spot in their journey.