Sending a child out on their own
Just as when the time came that you didn’t want to take your child with you and opted to leave them at home, so too will come the time when you won’t want to go out and will allow them to attend an event, visit a friend or run a household errand on their own. At whatever age this happens, heading out on their own comes with a whole new level of responsibility. The following lists are some things to think about when determining how much responsibility you trust your child with. Cross reference each of these lists – i.e. Special Events with Playing, or Money with Shopping.
Company – must siblings or friends stay together at all times or can one come home when tired?
Contact – does your child have a mobile phone?
Distance – how far from home can your child venture – to the park across the road or further?
Emergency – if injured, who and how will your child call for help?
Personal items – can balls, bikes, toys, pets and other items be taken away from home?
Nourishment – will they require water or food while out? Will they take this or have money?
Time – does your child have a sense of time, can they read a watch and remember to be back in a specified time?
Venue – will you child be going to an arcade, swimming pool or other venue requiring money?
Weather – is your child dressed appropriate to the weather. What are your rules for sudden rain or over heating?
Public transport and travelling to school / sport
Is your child allowed to and capable of catching the designated school or sports bus?
Is your child generally allowed to catch public transport – all forms including transfers or only local suburb buses?
Taxis – is your child allowed to hail one as a last resort?
Timetables – can your child read one?
Will they have enough money or travel pass for a return journey home?
Will someone be meeting them at either end?
Choice – can your child choose their own clothes and other personal items?
Weight – is your child capable enough to carry large or heavy items?
What can they buy – only what you’ve instructed or extras? Are toys and games allowed?
Where can your child shop – local shops or distant mall and how will they get there?
Who can your child go shopping with?
Events – which can your child attend on their own or with friends – school fete, Easter show, others?
Food – How much processed food and drinks is allowable – one fairy floss or anything goes at the fair?
Rides – will they know which are appropriate for their age, which won’t scare them or make them ill?
Rules – for interactive and physical activities, showbags, soft toys, water activities and other.
A “safe” and “unsafe” stranger – does your child know the difference?
Communicate where necessary – with bus drivers, shop keepers but never disclose personal information.
Don’t get into a stranger’s car, or leave with them by another other transport form.
Emergencies – if approached by a stranger, can your child call you from their mobile or make their way to a safe place such as shop, mall or special event security, or friend’s house?
Make a note of suspicious people – physical description, car rego number, location and time.
Trust – don’t believe that a stranger has been “sent by your parents”.
Contacts – do you know the other child’s parents, do you have their address and phone numbers? Do they have yours?
Must your child stay at their friend’s house or be allowed to head to a park, cinema or elsewhere?
Will your child be aware of rules, pets or risks in other persons house?