View Full Version : ? for Parents re: bus stop

09-13-2005, 05:11 PM
Hi Everyone

What's the youngest/average age of a child you'd allow to walk to the bus stop alone? (assuming it's not right in front of the house)

Thank you!

09-13-2005, 05:32 PM
Well, that is really going to vary depending on the parent and the child. My kids are eight and six, and I still walk them to the bus stop, but many parents let their five year olds walk by themselves. I know a young child (7) at our stop who is home alone before coming to the stop (single mom who has to leave for work just about twenty minutes before the bus comes) and he does just fine getting himself there on time and safe and sound everyday. It also depends how far the stop is away from your house. Our stop is over a quarter mile from our house and there are no sidewalks. If it was closer and there were sidewalks, I'd let my kids walk alone (as long as I could still see them from the window or the porch or something).

Anyway, on average, I'd say parents let their kids have looser reigns about the age of eight or nine, IF the child is responsible enough to take care of themselves for the most part. Or maybe I'm just too overprotective (my kids sure think so :) ).

09-13-2005, 06:16 PM
Never. OK, well maybe around high school. But I wouldn't even consider it in grade school. Seriously. I insist my kids have a buddy with them almost no matter where they go in the neighborhood. I do let my 13 yr old high-schooler skateboard to his friend's house around the corner and down the block, but I see the skate board as a possible weapon. I let them ride their bikes alone if they are going directly to their destination and phone me when they arrive. My oldest daughter (17) takes walks alone with the dog in the evenings, cell phone in tow. But I don't let either of the younger two (9 and 10) walk alone to school, because I wouldn't even know for hours if something happened. (they do walk together..buddy system I tell ya')
There's just too many what-ifs for me. And honestly, no matter how well we think we prepare them, they really may not handle an emergency or dangerous situation properly. I know that from experience. We had trained her for emergencies (so we thought,) but when my oldest was 5, there was a need to call 911, and she didn't, nor did she go to the neighbor's house..instead, she stood out in the "safe" front yard and yelled for help..(but no one heard.) And, my 12 yr old daughter has more than once startled me by opening the front door to strangers. She is just that trusting. It's really easy to bamboozle a kid. Don't assume they will handle a situation appropriately..how can they? They're just little.

09-13-2005, 07:01 PM
I would say high school.

I live in a rural area and the bus stop is down a long lane on the road. Because it is invisible from our home, I walk down with my kids each morning to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Each afternoon, my toddler and I walk down to meet the bus. My oldest is 9 years old. I would not feel comfortable at this point if I was not there. Too many dangers exist in our world for children.

You might be interested to know that in our school district that all kindergarten students (only all-day kindergarten is now offered) must be with or met by someone at the bus stop. Bus drivers are instructed not to leave any kindergartender at the bus stop for any reason. The child either must be with a sibling of middle school age or older or an adult. After that, I'm assuming the school district thinks first graders and up are okay to be at the stop alone but I don't agree.

09-13-2005, 08:46 PM
Each parent has an answer that is specific to their kids and to the circumstances. The same parent who lets their 9-y.o. go alone in a small town where they know everyone may make their 13-y.o. be escorted when they move to the suburbs. Some may feel more protective in the city because there are so many strangers and so much traffic, some may feel safer in the city because they are less isolated and there is always someone around.

09-13-2005, 08:59 PM
My thirteen year old walks to the bus stop alone, but it's right behind our house and there are other kids there. My five year olds, who just started kindergarten, get on the bus at the same spot an hour later, but I walk with them and wait until the bus comes. I just don't think anyone who's five should be walking anywhere alone. We're actually trying to change the bus stop to the corner we live on, because the bus PASSES my house to pick the kids up at the next block.

Our kindergartners are in half-day school, and the bus drops them off right at the house. In fact, if there's no one out to meet them or it looks like there's no one home, the bus will take them back to school.

09-13-2005, 09:42 PM
what a sad world
I think all you parents are really great to take such good care of your children, it just makes me sad we have too. I remember walking the 3/4 miled to school by myself everyday from about 8 years old and on up. We were in a safe neighborhood though, and it was a different time. There didn't seem like so much to worry about then.

09-13-2005, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Tish Davidson
09-14-2005, 01:14 AM
Really you can't generalize. It depends on the general safety of the neighborhood, how much traffic there is and whether they have to cross busy streets, whether they walk on sidewalks or on along a road, as sometimes happens in a rural area, how far away the bus stop is and how many other kids wait there, whether they can walk with a sibling or friend, and how responsible the kid himself is. My kids walked to and from school starting in second grade, a distance of about 4 blocks, but they always walked with other kids and lived in a town where they knew several people who lived on every block. The school also had a system where parents were supposed to call in early in the morning and say if their kid was not going to be in school. if a kid did not show up at school and the parent had not called in, the parent got a call from the school checking on whether the kid should be there or was really at home. The town also participated in the McGruff Safe Houses program and the kids were taught in school to go to a house with a McGruff Safe House sign if they were nervous about anything that was happening.. Most of the kids in town walked, so they rarely walked alone, and in the 15 years that we lived there, there was never a problem, but in a bigger city I would not have let my child walk alone until a much older age.

09-14-2005, 01:33 AM
Depends a lot on the other kids at the bus stop, too. If there are some older kids there who treat the younger kids well, I'd consider it at a younger age than if the other kids are bullies.