In June, to celebrate the last week of school, I let my kids walk to school by themselves. It’s about a 3 minute walk, in which they pass roughly 800,000 friends and schoolmates (give or take) that they know. I debated about it for months, however.
My kids are highly responsible. The route to school involves no major streets to cross. They know how to look both ways and make eye contact with a driver at stop signs before they cross. They know about stranger dangers. In the end, it seemed a sensible choice.
We did about 16 practice runs first, in which I walked behind them and pretended I wasn’t there. They were marvelous. (Or as marvelous as a child can be doing something as mundane as walking a few blocks.) So when I sent them off that one morning–watching them the entire way, but don’t tell them that–it was monumental. A big step for both of us. A major milestone crossed off, another one of the small freedoms a parent starts to bestow on a responsible tween who has earned it.
And yet I confess I was terrified to write about it here.
Absolutely panicked. (More)