If you want to offer your child an opportunity for independence, letting her walk to and from dance practice is a great option. However, you need to assess your individual situation and make sure this is a good idea for your child. Here are some things to consider when trying to decide.
Can They Use the Buddy System?
The buddy system is ideal when a child is walking to or from dance practice. Your child should have at least one person that they walk with both ways, and they shouldn’t walk alone. If it’s possible, ensure your child has someone in their dance class that she can meet before class begins. A child walking with someone else is less of a target for anyone wanting to cause harm. The buddy system also means someone is with your child who can call or go for help if she becomes sick or hurt.
Do You Know the Route?
You need to know how far it is between your child’s starting point and the dance studio. How long will this walk be round-trip? Even if it’s a short walk, it’s important to assess how much traffic there will be and if it’s safe for pedestrians. You can use similar steps to checking out their route to school. Heavy traffic areas are not safe for very young kids to use because of the risk of accidents. However, you don’t want your child on a completely isolated path where help wouldn’t be available if it was needed. If the route isn’t safe or if the distance is too far, arrange another mode of transportation.
How Old Is Your Child?
There is a lot of debate when it comes to the age a child should be to walk without an adult. Most people agree that a child between the age of six and eight needs to walk in a group with other kids to stay safe and aware of the traffic around her. It’s also easier for drivers to see kids if they are in groups. Ten years-old seems to be the number most recognize as old enough to walk alone. However, every kid is different. Emotional maturity is a consideration. It’s also wise to think about how well your child follows instructions. Can you trust him to follow the rules you’ve given him when walking without an adult? If the answer is no, you may need to wait.
There are plenty of people who think kids should be able to walk without adult supervision before the age of ten. It wasn’t uncommon for today’s parents to walk without adult supervision when they were six or seven years old, and it’s still common in other countries. This is where you have to use what you know about your child to decide. Offer this level of independence based on your child’s age and your experiences with him. Walking to and from dance practice gives your child a chance to build confidence and anonymity. Just make sure to consider all the information before deciding if it’s time for your child to take this step.