With the return to school and the beginning of the course, we realize that our children are no longer so young , and they face a new school year that until “two days” was far away.
Accepting that our children have grown up and that they are no longer the cute babies of until recently is one of the most difficult issues for parents; it is normal that this process removes us. And it is that no matter how old they are, for us they will always be our little ones.
Thus, children grow, and with it comes the development of their independence. At this stage, it is crucial not to hinder this natural process and to help them grow and acquire the necessary skills to function on their own . We talked about at what age children can go to school alone and how to prepare them.
At what age can children go to school alone?
There is no single correct answer to this question, and each family must, of course, decide what is best for their child and when they are ready.
Regarding age, although many experts point out that from the age of ten we can already let them go out to school alone, many others suggest that it is best to wait until they are 12 or 13 years old , when they have already developed more skills and are more independent and mature.
Some factors to consider
Thus, to make this decision you must take into account other factors , not only the chronological age of the child, such as the maturity of your child.
There are children who are much more mature than others their age, and this can give you clues as to whether or not they are ready to go to school on their own.
There are also other factors, such as the environment (living in a small town is not the same as living in a big city) or the transport factor.
You should consider how far the school is from home and whether your child needs to take a bus or can walk there. Also take into account if your child knows how to safely cross the zebra crossings and if there are busy avenues or streets that could represent some danger.
How to accompany him in this process of going alone?
Your child learns from what he sees: shows security and confidence
Keep in mind that your child learns from what he sees, and for this reason it is important that you show security and confidence in the face of the fact that he is going to start going to class alone (although inside we are a bundle of nerves, -calm down, it happens to us or everybody-).
Approach it as a challenge
Talk enthusiastically and naturally about the situation so that the child feels comfortable and that this is not a traumatic event for him. You can also encourage him to approach it as a challenge that will give him more freedom and independence, and that is “proof” that he is getting older.
Take the tour explaining
Surely you have walked that path many times and you know it by heart, but do not assume that it is just as easy for your child.
Even if you go through the same places every day, take the tour with him while you indicate signs, such as shops, traffic lights, places he should not go through, etc. Offer reference points to guide him when he goes alone.
You can try, before letting him go alone, to make the journey with him but in the distance. For example, a few steps behind him, during a section of the road, or on the opposite sidewalk, observing how he walks . Let him know you’ll be around in case of any emergency, but let him go alone.
Every day, a little more
Another useful idea, especially if the school is not below the house, is to increase each day the part that the child will have to do alone.
For example, start by accompanying him to school, then accompany him to the last traffic light (and let him cross it alone), then up to two streets higher, etc. The idea is that he becomes familiar with the path and that he gains confidence, until the last step is to do the route on his own.
let him know
It is essential that you teach your child what to do in an emergency. What to do if you get lost or forget your way. Leave your name and phone number handy so that they can call you if they need it and explain to them the places or people they can go to for help.
Explain the “no’s”
As important as the above is to explain to children the “no’s” that we have on the street, such as not talking to strangers. Teach them not to approach people they don’t know , not to accept anything on the street from third parties and under no circumstances get into the car of someone who is not their direct family.
Teach him to ask for help
It is necessary for your child to know that evil exists, and this is not to scare him, but to prevent it. Tell him what to do if a stranger approaches him without his consent or tries to take him away.
Teach him to yell and ask for help, not to remain silent out of fear or threats, to yell and run if he can to a safe place with more people.
Tell him to be careful
Ask him not to use the phone on the street while he is walking and not to listen to music because that can distract him (or at least not to listen to it the first few times).
Make him understand that all this is important so that he is attentive to everything that happens around him. We insist, at least at first these things should be avoided ; explain to him that later, when he adapts to going alone, he will be able to listen to music on the way, but not starting out.
Take advantage of resources
Technological advances offer us very interesting alternatives that help us to have a little more peace of mind and some control in these cases.
Currently there are applications and mobile phones with GPS that allow us to know in real time where our children are going; And best of all, there is a lot of variety. Of course, always let your child know all this beforehand, and let him tell you what he thinks about it; above all, that it is not something we do in secret.
Photos | Cover (Freepik)