It was a big step — about 15 little kid-sized steps, actually — letting our kids cross the street without an adult.
I had no idea at what age it was supposed to happen, but I didn’t think it would be so soon. It’s different for every family, likely, because it depends on the traffic of your street. Oh, how I wish we lived on one of those sleepy cul-de-sacs where every driver slows to a crawl.
Our street has a lot of cars whipping around corners at high speeds, and it’s always made me nervous. So many drivers don’t seem to be paying attention. Between the puppy and the kids, it feels like I’m constantly making sure nobody’s chasing a ball into the street.
Ever since we’ve lived here, whenever the kids wanted to go across the street to see their buddy, one of us held their hands and walked them over. When they were ready to come home, we’d go retrieve them or my friend would walk them back.
The trouble with that, though, was that the kids slipped their hand into ours and crossed without paying attention — eager to get to the other side of the street and play. Even though I made a point of stopping at the curb and doing an exaggerated look in both directions (“Look both waaaaaays!”) they didn’t need to look because I was doing the looking for all of us.
So this past spring, as the kids began hanging out even more, my friend and I decided our kids (aged five, five and seven) were probably old enough to cross the street alone. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to walk them back and forth — it was more that we wanted them to know how to safely do it by themselves …
Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …
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