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 encouraging children to be independent, it can also be a necessary for working parents or those who have younger children at different schools.
While for some children this will be an exciting prospect, others will find it rather daunting, so we have gathered some top tips to help children be prepared and get to and from their new school safely.
If your child is going to travel to their new school alone, it's wise to take a couple of trial journeys in advance. This could be done at both quiet and busy times of day, to make it as representative of their rush hour journey as possible. Show them alternative routes in case of disruptions to their regular path and discuss potential challenges they may encounter.
Knowing their address and contact details
It is always worth checking that your child can state their home address and has memorised telephone numbers for family and close friends in case they have any trouble getting home. Some parents choose to give children a mobile phone when they travel alone. If you decide to do this, remember to speak to your child about safety when using a phone on the street.
When taking your trial journeys, select some places your child could go to if they were to ever feel uncomfortable or worried on their journey. These could include friends' houses, shops or community centres.
If your child is going to cycle to school, it's important for you and they check their bike is in a good working order together. Children should also wear reflective clothing, have a working bell and a good, fitted helmet. If they haven't already completed one, look into 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 and get into a good routine. If your child is rushing, they are likely to be paying less attention to the roads and their own safety. If they leave with plenty of time, your child will likely arrive at school in a calmer mood, ready to learn following a stress-free journey.