A part of growing up for children is learning to be independent. Developing some street cred, the last they want is their parents embarrassing them by dropping them off at the school gates or to stay home whilst their friends have arranged to go bowling or to the cinema on the weekend.
Giving your children, their own independency can sometimes be a worrying prospect for parents, whether its allowing them to walk to school and back or to use public transport.
Working with Oxford Tube, coach to London providers, we’ve provided some tips for parents who may be thinking about giving their children more independence as they get older.
For parents, it’s a big debate about whether they should allow their child to become more independent, some feel confident about their child traveling to school on their own whilst others are slightly more cautious about the big decision. But when is the right age for children to start becoming more independent?
The case can be different for every child, but parents need to encourage a ‘transaction of power’ for when it comes to giving their child more freedom. It’s vital for parents to have a clear understanding of whether their child wants to start commuting on their own.
A National Travel Survey was carried out by the Department of Transport in 2016, which revealed that 56% of 11-16-year olds are traveling to school with an adult with the average trip taking 17 minutes. This is a significant drop from 94% of children aged 5-10 who were accompanied by adults on their commute. This evidently shows that more parents allow their children more independence as they enter secondary education.
If parents are wanting to allow their child to test the waters with getting to and from primary school independently, it’s recommended to make the school aware. Sometimes, it goes against school policies regarding a young person leaving on their own.
Introducing independent travel to your child
When it reaches the time where you feel your child is ready, and you feel it is necessary to introduce this new learning curve, there are various method you can use to introduce this new experience so that you child is traveling in the safest way possible: The last year of primary school is the recommended time to start this process, around the age of ten. Although it may seem daunting to them, this will help prepare your not-so-little one for the move to high school. A new learning environment where independence is needed to certify learning capabilities.
If your child travels by car, it might be best to introduce them to bus travel a few times to enlighten them on public transport. Whether this is going shopping, or just having a day out, using a bus can show them how the process works — from putting their hand out to signal a bus to stop or paying for a certain type of tickets. Once they’ve got the legists on the use of public transport, introduce them to the school run. To do this, you will need to carry out some research on what bus travels to the school, where your child needs to get on and off as well as knowing what time it is due. You can find this information online or most schools have it, so contacting them could be a viable option when looking for the nearest bus top. Remember to check any handbooks issued by the school, as this information could already be included to help you plan your child’s journey in the most efficient way. These tasks may appear simple to you, but remember it could be overwhelming for your child at first. When it comes to the school run, you need to ensure they are aware of the timetable and how it works. Create a routine to ensure that your child has enough time to start their day right, from getting dressed and eating breakfast to walking to the bus stop and getting to school on time. Once your child gets used to this method of transport then hopefully, they will become more self-supportive and less reliant on their guardians to get them from one place to another. Teaching your child to use public transport, although it sounds excessive, is an invaluable piece of information that they can use for the rest of their lives — whether this is travelling to a university campus or heading to their workplace.
What age do you think kids should become dependent?