School also means going to school, and that can sometimes be quite dangerous. With lots of practice, you can train your offspring to move safely through traffic.
With the start of school, children learn so many new things, not just reading and writing—going to school on their own, for example. For parents, this means: Letting go – even if it’s hard and you imagine all the horrible things that can happen. But with lots of training, you can prepare your offspring for the road.
The way to school: Fast doesn’t always have to be safe
Firstly, you choose the route that you want your little treasure to take every day. And here, fast doesn’t necessarily mean safe. It should be a route where the child will ideally only cross the street at a traffic light or crosswalk to get to school or the bus stop. Walk this route beforehand and see potential hazards; go small and see what traffic looks like from this perspective.
Some schools and communities help and offer a school route plan where dangerous spots are marked, and alternatives are shown. Once the route to school is set, grab your child and practice the way together – with running commentary: “Here comes a car, we’ll stand here at the crosswalk and wait until we’re sure the driver has seen us, too.” Ask questions, “If your friends are on the other side. What do you do?”. School beginners think that cars have noticed them when they see them – a dangerous mistake. And that’s why you should set up precise rules for your offspring and practice them over and over again:
- You only cross a street when there are no more cars coming. To do this, you looked left and right and went again. Make sure all the time that there is no car coming.
- Never stand too close to the curb, especially at intersections and curves.
- Red means stop! Always!
- When the light is green, don’t leave until all cars have stopped.
- You do not enter the street between parked cars.
- You are especially careful when crossing the road in front of or behind the school bus.
Do not wear dark clothing on the way to school.
Visibility is critical on the way to school, especially during the dark winter days. That’s why everything should shine and reflect as well as possible, whether it’s the school bag, the jacket or the shoes. Your child doesn’t have to look like a disco ball, but it should be visible.
Going to school: It’s better together.
For the first few days and maybe weeks, you’ll certainly be following along until you feel your child can safely navigate traffic. It’s even better if your daughter or son goes to school with other kids. See who has a similar route and arrange to walk together. And then it’s a matter of letting go – your child will learn to become more independent and self-confident in accomplishing such essential things as going to school alone.
The way to school: Does it have to be by car?
What do you do if the way to school is too long and it is more practical for many reasons to bring your child to class by car? Then at least check if there are unloading places further away from the school entrance to avoid the morning traffic jam of parents’ cars and give your offspring at least a little exercise in the fresh air. Carpooling is also always a good measure against too many cars in front of the school entrance.
If the walk to school is short and safe enough, you should give your child the option to walk alone or with friends. Yes, it certainly gives you a better sense of control to take your child there yourself, either on foot or by car, but it’s one of the milestones of growing up when you first set out on your own to go to school – and you shouldn’t deprive your offspring of it, if possible.