When should children cycle on their own?
- Posted by:
- Michael Grose
Recently, two London parents were criticized for letting their two children cycle a kilometer and a half to school on their own.
It made news world-wide!
Wanting to recreate the freedom of their childhood’s south London couple Oliver and Gillian Schonrock allowed their two children to cycle to school together – aged only five and eight.
Not anymore. The couple were censured by the school’s headteacher , threatening to report the parents to the local authorities if they continued to let their daughters ride to school unsupervised.
The local education authority admits it’s a grey area and there are no official guidelines.
Parenting experts have weighed in giving opinions for and against, but most have supported the school. Traffic safety and stranger danger are the two issues most people are concerned about.
Controversial London mayor Boris Johnson seems to have had the last word congratulating the parents for their initiative for promoting a sense of real confidence in their kids, and wished other parents would do the same.
When pressed for an opinion on radio, I applauded the parents’ motives, but have some reservations about the ability of a five year old to handle all contingencies that may occur traffic-wise. It’s difficult to judge, not knowing the children, nor the route the take.
Children’s safety is paramount, so any freedoms must be provided within a limited framework and fit within children’s abilities.
I respect what the parents have done and applaud the fact that they’ve spent a lot of time going over the route with their daughters. I think it’s quite courageous thing for them to do.
It was certainly within the Thriving! spirit of parenting that I was discussing on the radio. Like all things parenting, it’s a personal decision that’s easy to talk about, yet hard to do.
So what do you think? Is Boris a little too cavalier or is he on the money? Did the school headteacher overstep the mark or is he within his rights? When can kids cycle on their own?
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