Thursday, April 7, 2011

Walking Home . . .ALONE!

I love that I get to take my kids to school everyday and I can be there to pick them up after school. When they were little I would carry or push one, pull one on a bike and the oldest would walk. Now on nice days we walk through the forest looking for squirrels and flowers instead of taking the long sidewalk home. On cold days we all pile in the van and we battle car seats & snowsuits, seat belts and winter gloves. Over the years it has gotten more fun on the warm days as we walk and stop to catch fish in the creek and easier now on the winter days as the kids can all buckle into their boosters on their own.

Isn’t it great when the kids get older? You breathe, you can think, you sleep. You get that secure feeling of . . ahhhh . . .I made it.

And then one day your oldest will announce, “I’m walking home . . . .ALONE.

Ha Ha Ha. Good one. In my head I'm saying “oh no you're not!” but to her I just smiled. She has done this before, usually by the time we get to the van, she jumps in. But today her determination was stronger, she kept saying it, “I mean it. I’m walking” and looking at me . . . challenging me to stop her. She walked faster, to show me she was serious. She passed our van parked at the side of the road and kept walking.

My middle daughter contemplated walking with her, but jumped in the van as she passed. My youngest cried, thinking her sister was gone from our family forever.

I still didn’t say anything. I smiled. Part of me was super proud of my 9 year old for her independence and wanting to forge out on her own, she still cries often in new situations so this new found bravery looks good on her! Part of me was super scared that I was already facing the fact that my little girl wanted to grow up and forge out on her own! There is no way I want her walking that long stretch of open road on her own. It’s not as safe out there for young girls walking alone. Her sisters are too young to protect her. She’s not ready yet. I’m not ready yet! But today I didn’t stop her. I couldn’t. She was so insistent. She was so proud. She was walking home . . . .ALONE.

So I did what any awesome mom would do. I got in the van with my other 2 children and we drove home doing 3km an hour staying right behind my little girl and shouting encouragements out the window as she walked home . . . ALONE!!

When did your kids walk home alone from school for the first time? Would you have done anything differently?

5 comments:

  1. I support you for wanting to encourage her. I think many factors come in to play when decideing if 'now is the time'. How many other kids walk the same route? maturity, responsibility and street smarts etc. Each child needs to be assessed differently. However, for me 'alone' will not happen. 'Alone' will always mean 'with a friend' because I've always felt there is safety in numbers, especially when just beginning to break away from parents. This way the two or three friends can look out for each other, remind each other and learn independence together. I know you were right there with her, but I would talk to her about why 'alone' isn't allowed, but if there is a friend close by who wants to walk together they can. (again, every kid and every environment is different, so you have to know what's right for you and her)

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  2. I totally agree . . for us "alone" meant without Mom! There would always be a buddy or a sister and we did talk about that when we got home. We talk about it at pools, at parks and indoor play lands - always a buddy! I think the big step was her deciding she was walking without me!! She hasn't asked again and now that the weather is nice, we will all be walking together!

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  3. Wow. I'm so not ready for that. I either drive DS to school, or walk him to the bus stop, visa versa on the way home. He's only 6 so we're years away from changing this. We are within walking distance to the school, and I'm sure when he's nine or ten, he'll want to go on his own. That day scares me...

    Good for her for making such a decision, it's hard to break away from your security zone. And good for you, letting her. :) {Hugs Mama}

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  4. Not sure when she will actually be walking home totally without me . . . I think I'll be walking with the 7 & 5 yr old for a few years to come, so hoping they won't really (ever?!!) walk home alone!

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  5. I started to walk home alone when, I was 8 year old. Our home was three blocks away from school. Now, being a mom I do not want to let my 10 year old daughter walking home alone even though our home was two blocks away from school due to what is happening nowadays. It is important that parents must be vigilant for the security and protection of our children. For me, I always make sure that my daughter is fully protected in her way out home. In fact as one way of securing her safety, I used this kind of safety solution that I could watch over my daughter's current locations and recent activities. It’s a mobile personal safety wherein my daughter could ask immediate help in case of a dangerous situation occurs. For more on your child safety protections just check this out http://safekidzone.com/

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