I’m not sure what the rules are in other schools across the UK, but for us, children are allowed to walk home without an adult once they reach Year 5. Luke is just about to turn 9 and will be starting his Year 5 adventure in September, therefore I thought now would be a great time to start preparing him to walk to and from school alone. Luckily, in the UK, we have 6 weeks of summer holidays to make sure that children are completely comfortable and know everything they need to in order to walk home safely.
If you have a child moving up to a year group that allows them to start making the journey to and from school without a parent, I’m sure you’ll find this post helpful too. I’ve compiled a list of tips to help prepare your child for the transition, plus I’ve also included some useful products that may come in handy!
Are they old enough and mature enough to walk home on their own?
Before you send your child off into the big wide world on their own (even if it is only to and from school), make sure they’re familiar with the rules that will help to keep them safe. Usually, children learn to start walking home from school on their own between the ages of 9 and 11, but this choice ultimately falls to you as the parent. No one knows your child’s maturity level as well as you do, so make sure that you feel comfortable letting your child take the next step. If you feel that your child is not yet mature enough to walk home without your guidance, do not feel pressured to do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
Make sure your child knows how to stay safe when they’re on their own.
Teach your children the basics of staying safe when walking alone. Include lessons on how to use pedestrian crossings correctly and ensure that they understand how to check that the road is one hundred percent safe to cross before stepping out.
Brush up on your Stranger Danger (now called CLEVER NEVER GOES) knowledge. Teach your children what to look out for and what may class as suspicious behaviour. It’s a good idea to teach them that they should be alert and pay attention to their surroundings when walking home from school, rather than walking along staring down at their phones.
Use a GPS tracker to keep an eye on their location and become alerted to any suspicious activity.
GPS trackers are amazing little bits of kit that have proven to be invaluable in almost any situation that you can think of. Travelling? Pop a GPS in your suitcase and never lose your packing ever again. Have an escape artist dog? Attach a GPS unit to their collar and always know exactly where they are. And, if like me you’re sending your child to school on their own for the first time, it’s so easy to just pop a GPS tracker in their school bag.
I’ve picked up the PAJ GPS Easy Finder 4G to help prepare both myself and Luke for the transition from me being on the school run, to him going it alone. It’s not that I don’t trust my son, but having this extra bit of kit has definitely put my mind at ease. The Easy Finder 4G has a whopping 14 days of battery life, which means I can pop it in his bag and forget about it for 2 weeks. With everything that comes with school-aged children (homework, reading, school trips etc), having to only think about charging the tracker every fortnight is a big bonus.
The PAJ GPS Easy Finder 4G works in 100 countries, running on 4G to ensure you always have the best connection possible. Some brilliant features that make this particular GPS handy for those looking to track their children on the way to and from school are the Live Location Tracking and the Alerts by Push Notification/Email. These two features definitely make me feel more relaxed about sending Luke off to school on his own. Plus, if Luke ever feels he’s in danger, the PAJ GPS Easy Finder 4G features an emergency SOS button that he can press to instantly send his location to the contacts listed on the device. This little gadget could literally save my child’s life, so I definitely urge other parents to pick one up as well.
Encourage your child to walk with their friends or in a group.
There’s always safety in numbers, so if you can, encourage your child to walk to school with some of their friends or as a group. Walking as a group will not only put the parent’s minds at ease, but it will also help the kids to learn from one another and feel more confident and safe. Ask your child to check if there are any children that live in the same neighbourhood as them, or ask their teacher to inform you of any parents of students that live nearby; this way you chat to them and arrange a safe walking group for your children.
*Post contains PR Samples.