Preparing your child for travelling to secondary school independently
Many parents choose secondary school as the time to let their child travel independently for the first time. As well as giving children independence, this can also be a necessity for working parents or those who have children at different schools.
For some children this will be an exciting prospect, and for others it will be rather daunting; either way children need to be prepared and know how to get to and from their new school safely.
If your child is going to travel to their new school alone, ensure you take a couple of trial journeys in advance. This should be done at a busy time of day, to make it as representative of their rush hour journey as possible. It is also wise to show them alternative routes in case they encounter disruptions to their regular route.
Knowing their address and contact details
It is always worth encouraging your child to know their address and telephone numbers for family and close friends, in case they have any trouble getting home. Some parents advise giving children a mobile phone when they travel alone. In this instance, children should be reminded not to get it out in public unless absolutely necessary.
When taking your trial journeys, select some places your child can go to if they feel uncomfortable or scared on their journey. These can include friends' houses, shops or community centres.
If your child is going to cycle to school, it is important you check their bike is in a good working order. Children should also wear reflective clothing, have a working bell and a good, fitted helmet. There are cycle proficiency courses children can undertake to learn how to cycle on the roads safely.
Encourage your child to leave plenty of time for their journey to school. If your child is rushing they are likely to be paying less attention to the roads and their own safety. They are also likely to arrive at school in a calmer mood, ready to learn following a stress-free journey. Of course an early night will help your child get up and out of the door early.