Children's personal safety is a delicate balance between adult supervision and children's independence. At Kidpower People Safety Skills classes the question comes up, "Is my (fill in age of child) old enough to (name of activity) on his/her own?" As in "Is my six-year-old old enough to play alone in the front yard?" or "Is my ten-year-old old enough to walk to school on her own?"
These questions imply that there is an age at which children in general are ready to manage certain activities independently and safely. We need to reframe the question to be skills based instead of age based and ask "Does this child demonstrate the skills s/he needs to play in for front yard alone? ... walk to school alone? etc.
To answer this question, we need to make an honest assessment of the reasonable risks presented by the activity we are considering. Then, we can ask ourselves if the child demonstrates the capacity to take action to prevent, avoid, deescalate, or escape those risks. We also want to think about where the child could get help if s/he encountered one of these risks.
Here is a link to great one page Kidpower guide Safety For Kids on Their Way to School, that addresses people safety skills and actions that parents can teach and practice so their children will be safer walking to school on their own.
Kidpower has a library of free articles on their website at www.Kidpower.org The next Marin County Parent/Child workshop is being held on Saturday November 10 for more information click on the link below.
Kidpower Instructor/Marin Coordinator