Monday, May 12, 2008

Free Range Kids

We all have our own fears for how and where our kids are going to get hurt. I personally have an irrational fear of my kids being in a car wreck while someone other than myself is driving. It took me a long time relax while my mother in law or husband drives my three little darlings around. But I'm finding the longer I'm a mom, the easier it is becoming. I still have a slightly uneasy feel in my gut while they are in a car with another driver, but it is no longer as debilitating to me as it used to be. They are allowed to go places with other people.

It is the law of our school that kindergartners must be with their parent or caregiver at the bus stop for pick up and drop off. After that, first-graders and on can wait out by themselves. For some reason I have always had a bit of an issue with it. At first it seemed like such a big step letting her ride the bus since I lived in fear of her not figuring out where to go when she got to school, but oddly enough, she figured it out. Then as the school year progressed, I started thinking it was crazy that I had to wait outside with her at all. She is a wise girl, or at least as wise as a kindergartener needs to be, so I thought, next year, she will be waiting alone. She will know to walk back home if her bus doesn't come. She will know not to get into a car if a ride is offered by a stranger. (Next year she will not have a bus option, she will have to walk since the school district is moving the school a few blocks away from our house.)

Standing out at the bus stop one morning I asked the other parents if they were going to let their kids walk to school. (I didn't mention that I was thinking my first grader was going make the short journey alone since their kids are in 5th and 6th grade) But they said no way, it's just not safe, any creep could have their way with their child as they walked to school. So I soon felt like the bad mom not wanting to walk to school in the morning, but really, I just don't think there is much that could go wrong and if there is I certainly don't think my child is going to be the victim of an unusual crime on her walk to school.

I will walk her the first month or so to ensure she knows the route, but after that, she need to do it alone. There will be crossing guards to make sure she isn't plowed down by people who are in haste to make it to work. So really, what could happen? Someone might steal her lunch, but chances are they will only do it once when they realize it's not as fun of a lunch that the other kids take to school. No lunchables or other pre-packaged stuff.

Check this out article if you think I'm being a little carefree. Suddenly a short little walk in the city of Cincinnati doesn't seem so bad. This mom is my hero! We can't keep our kids on such short leashes if we want them to grow.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Cool! Yep, I only had half a block to walk to school when I was in first and second grade, but I remember other kids in my class walking in from several blocks away. Mostly, they seemed to come in packs. I think I'll see if there are kids in my area who might want to walk to school with my kid. I'm all for unleashing the little sweeties. The world becomes your oyster when you know you can make your own way through it.

Tracy said...

I absolutely would not let my daughter walk to school by herself at this age. Every so often in our district we send home a notice about some guy in a car or van who tried to get a kid to get in. I know my daughter would walk right over to a car if the person looked friendly and told her there was a puppy in it. Just think about those 20/20 shows where they secretly tape kids handling guns even though they know they're not supposed to. She also has a false confidence; when I talk to her about strangers she replies that she can just kick them and run away - my nephew thinks that as well, even after I held his arms down to show him that adults were stronger. A pack would be better, but as for me, I will wait until she's older to unleash her.

StuntMom said...

You know, I talk so tough, but the reality of it is that I doubt she will be walking alone by first grade. I do think she would be safe, but I don't think she would think she is ready. When I give her challenges like delivering something to a neighbor, she is terrified of getting run over. I am constantly asked if I could double check to see if any cars are coming from the front porch. She is convinced adults have better views of the cars since they are taller. I imagine once my middle child is old enough to walk to school with her, then the team will safely be able to make it to school together. Or at least she will have the confidence knowing someone brave is at her side, even if she is two years younger.