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Would you be comfortable with this? - Page 4

post #61 of 120

At 6 years old my son would not have been ready to do that (he's 7 1/2 now and still isn't).

 

Would you consider letting her do it if someone you knew (a family friend or relative) was on the train with her (even if she didn't know they were there) to keep an eye on things? She could feel independent and you could still know she was safe.

post #62 of 120

My initial response was NO  WAY, but then I realized that you are in Switzerland and I"m sure your train situation is very different from the few experiences that I've had in the U.S.

 

Someone above mentioned flying. I flew from Ohio/New York state to Florida several times alone starting at the age of 6. I can't remember if I had layovers, but probably. Back then though, I think flying was different. People still dressed up to do it (according to my Mom's rules) and I think flight attendants were more often ask to help a child flying alone. Now with all the "no frills" I don't know how those requests are taken.

post #63 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post

Someone above mentioned flying. I flew from Ohio/New York state to Florida several times alone starting at the age of 6. I can't remember if I had layovers, but probably. Back then though, I think flying was different. People still dressed up to do it (according to my Mom's rules) and I think flight attendants were more often ask to help a child flying alone. Now with all the "no frills" I don't know how those requests are taken.


It's my understanding that here, at least (in Canada), they no longer allow unaccompanied kids below a certain age (I think it's something like 12).

 

post #64 of 120

I think you are the only one who can assess her maturity level and whether she is ready or not and I think it is your choice as a parent. With that being said, I would not allow my six year old to travel on a train alone. Crimes often happen when there is opportunity and even if a child is very mature mentally, they are likely physically too small at the age of six to defend themselves.

post #65 of 120

I don't think it's a big deal in Switzerland. I was there a few years ago and its not like going on the metro in Washington DC where I live. But you never know who is on that train. I say stick with your idea and send her one stop but have a friend watching her from the end of the train. Just to be on the safe side. Or go over scenarios of unexpected things that could happen, and when you both feel comfortable with how she replies, send her on her way.

post #66 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

Velochic -

 

What is it about the US that makes you say "no" here when you might say "yes" there? Is it because most kids here have less experience using public transport? Or because our public transport in many places tends to be used by sketchier people? Is it the public transport part that would make you say no, or the independence part?

 

 

 

I'll answer, though it is a generalization. Because kids here are given more freedoms and opportunities to develop independence, from an earlier age. You could even say starting from birth, when I could park the pram outside a store while my baby was sleeping and hop inside to buy something. If my baby woke up crying, someone would just come in the store and say "hey, baby crying in pram outside." I'd go right out and get her. If young kids are outside playing by themselves, people think it is normal. If I am sitting at the playground and my 4 yo says she wants to go home and get her bike and bike back here, I say OK and stay at the playground talking with the other parents. Now if my child said she wanted me to come with her, of course I would! But I assume she can, she wants to do it herself, and these small steps allow her to develop confidence in herself and her capabilities.

 

So kids that desire independence have had practice. Lots of it. Practice gives them the confidence to want more responsibility, and to be able to handle it. 

 

We are not talking leaving a 4 or 6 yo at home for 5 hours by themselves. Or on a 5 hour train ride where they had to be responsible for buying a ticket, changing trains.... This would probably be very sad for the child. Or stressful. Or both. But when children desire to do things on their own, it is great to have the freedom to allow it. 

post #67 of 120
Thread Starter 

As for the life vest, in my world people of all ages wear life vests on boats. My family is a boating family and that is just a safety issue. There will be a day when DD takes the train all by herself and if we are still living in Switzerland, it will probably be before she is 13. She takes the train to go to ice skating lessons and swim lessons now. I am sure she will want to go with her friends and without her mom. lol.gif I just want her to start out small with baby steps and work her way up to going to skating all by herself or with her friend. 

 

Oh and a couple of people mentioned getting lost at the station or forgetting her backpack. In Switzerland each train line arrives at the same platform each and every time. The town that DD would take the train to only has 2 tracks through the town and no real "station" and since it is the end for this train line, the train pulls off to platform 3, lets everyone off and sits for 10 minutes. DH would meet her on platform 3 and I could even tell him which car she'd be on because the train only runs with 3 cars during the day. If she didn't get off, he could just get on the train. Swiss trains are very predictable, clean, and safe. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by acdmama View Post





However you decide to celebrate, I hope your daughter has a GREAT birthday!

 


Thanks! I am sure she will have a good birthday - it is tomorrow BTW. I don't want to tie this to her birthday because I don't want her to think that her birthday is a failure if she decides she isn't ready. We have some special stuff planned but it is nothing like riding a train by herself. More like dinner out and a party. love.gif

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaMunchkin View Post

Dear OP, 

 

Is it your DD's bday yet?  Have you decided what to do?  

 

I sense that you're not 100% comfortable eventhough it's something that's acceptable in Switzerland?  Do you have any particular concerns in mind?

 

 

 



My biggest concern is that she will decide she wants to do it and get scared or change her mind mid-trip. I really do think it is safe, it is just whether or not she is overestimating her readiness. She has been rather clingy on the trains the last few days - choosing to sit on the stairs by me and the stroller instead of a seat - so I am thinking she has changed her mind. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post

At 6 years old my son would not have been ready to do that (he's 7 1/2 now and still isn't).

 

Would you consider letting her do it if someone you knew (a family friend or relative) was on the train with her (even if she didn't know they were there) to keep an eye on things? She could feel independent and you could still know she was safe.


Well, the way the train is set up, if someone went along, she'd know. The cars are rather small and she is good at picking out people she knows half way down the platform. Her class goes on the train to the next town for the dentist (her teacher + 15 kids) and they also take an end of the year trip to the forest which is a train and a bus away. (3 teachers and about 40 kids) She did that last year with no problem. She is comfortable taking the train with me or with friends and light supervision. 

 

Tomorrow we have to go get her junior card for riding the train. She is no longer free when she rides with me. 

 

xposted with AllisonR - she is spot on. 

post #68 of 120


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichigan View Post

I would find out legally what age is allowed and take it from there.

 

 

I know that many states (in the US) have a set age to be left home alone, I would use that as a rough guide and then factor in child maturity and situation (day/night/cost/familiarity, etc).


Actually, only 2 states (Maryland and Illinois) have such laws. Several other states have guidelines, but nothing as far as legality. Most states have neither. I think every child and situation is different, and considerations must be made for each of them.

 

OP, I would have no problem with what you describe.

 

post #69 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post

 

Someone above mentioned flying. I flew from Ohio/New York state to Florida several times alone starting at the age of 6. I can't remember if I had layovers, but probably. Back then though, I think flying was different. People still dressed up to do it (according to my Mom's rules) and I think flight attendants were more often ask to help a child flying alone. Now with all the "no frills" I don't know how those requests are taken.

5-7 children can travel as unaccompanied minors ONLY on direct flights

8 + for flights with stopovers/layovers

 

and 12+ for travellign alone.

 

as unaccompanied minors you have to pay an extra around $100 for the services of a flight attendant.

 

about children being left alone here in California i have discovered many parents leave their kids alone at the age of 6 onwards under the tutteledge of nieghbours next door. not on a regular basis but once in a while. the kids and my dd loves it.

 

 

post #70 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland42 View Post
My biggest concern is that she will decide she wants to do it and get scared or change her mind mid-trip. I really do think it is safe, it is just whether or not she is overestimating her readiness. She has been rather clingy on the trains the last few days - choosing to sit on the stairs by me and the stroller instead of a seat - so I am thinking she has changed her mind. 

Yeah, I know what you mean - a 6-yr old can be very unpredictable.  Well, if I were you I'll wait until she ... really orngtongue.gif... begs for a solo train ride then.  I do like your idea of giving her a cellphone during her first ride.  Hope she has a great bday party! 

post #71 of 120
Thread Starter 

So I was chatting with a local friend of mine about this. She has a daughter the same age as my daughter and a son 2 years older. She thought it was a good idea and that my daughter and her two big kids should all go together. I can just imagine them giggling the whole way. Anyway, this is probably a better idea and good practice for the kids. My DD is overwhelmed by her birthday today so I am going to wait to bring it up. :) 

 

I can't believe my baby is getting so big! 

post #72 of 120

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-462091/How-children-lost-right-roam-generations.html

 

Look at the picture comparing the freedom of eight year olds over 4 generations.

 

I think it's probably fine in Switzerland.  In the US you have to wait longer because IMO people feel better about themselves if they are policing the "safety" of other people's children, e.g., putting their own standards onto others, even if they have not done one iota of research on risk.

 

post #73 of 120

I spent time in Germany, where kids are taught to be independent very early.  It was normal to see 4 & 5 y-o children walking by themselves to kindergarten or down to the bakery.  Most villages were quite safe -- everybody knows everybody, and strangers are noticed.  We saw plenty of youth traveling alone by train and allowed our two to take a short train trip when they were 8 & 10, traveling together.

 

Assuming things are similar in Switzerland, 6 still seems a bit young for the train, but if Mom puts the child on the train and she is met by Dad at the next stop, I'd think it's perfectly safe.  An alternative might be to arrange for a friend, an 8 or 10 yo, to travel together with the child. 

 

I lean toward the "free-range kid" idea -- grow safety skills and help the child build competency step by step.  My pint-sized daughter always had a strong independent streak and a boatload of over-confidence.  I had to walk the line between teaching her a reasonable degree of caution while letting her gain experience.  Now at 17 she has traveled alone by train, plane, and bus.  She is a competent world traveler, and doesn't need Mummy anymore! Boo-hoo!

post #74 of 120

i didn't read all the comments but what you described sounds fine to me. My biggest concern would be her missing her stop but you've already accounted for that. 

 

i think that is a very safe way to add a little independence. have you been to freerangekids.wordpress.com ? she let her son ride the NYC train home. by himself. :D what a tizzy it stirred up! 

post #75 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxravnos View Post

i didn't read all the comments but what you described sounds fine to me. My biggest concern would be her missing her stop but you've already accounted for that. 

 

i think that is a very safe way to add a little independence. have you been to freerangekids.wordpress.com ? she let her son ride the NYC train home. by himself. :D what a tizzy it stirred up! 


Okay, feel compelled to put the NYC subway story in context, since I see it referenced here a lot on MDC as an example of free range.  First, it was the national media who made a big issue out of this, not New Yorkers.  The hard reality is that a lot of people view the NYC subway as a "dangerous place" and I would guess that a lot of these people are non-NYers.  Second, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of kids ride the subway every day here, even by themselves.  That is the way kids get to school...we don't have yellow buses here except in private school situations.  It cracks me up that this story reached such a wide audience, given that 9 year olds riding the subway is such a common occurrence here.  Most kids travel with their siblings and in groups of kids, but no one really gives a thought to the 8 to 10 year old set riding the subway.  The woman who wrote the blog entry was, let's say, making a bigger deal out of it than the rest of us who consider it commonplace.  I think only NYers will understand the following:  it it is privileged mentality.  "Oh gosh, my kid road the subway by himself!  I'm so special and avant garde!"  I don't mean to be snarky, but there are very distinct class systems here and this is prime example.  JMHO.

 

post #76 of 120

 

 

Quote:
Okay, feel compelled to put the NYC subway story in context, since I see it referenced here a lot on MDC as an example of free range.  First, it was the national media who made a big issue out of this, not New Yorkers.  The hard reality is that a lot of people view the NYC subway as a "dangerous place" and I would guess that a lot of these people are non-NYers.  Second, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of kids ride the subway every day here, even by themselves.  That is the way kids get to school...we don't have yellow buses here except in private school situations.  It cracks me up that this story reached such a wide audience, given that 9 year olds riding the subway is such a common occurrence here.  Most kids travel with their siblings and in groups of kids, but no one really gives a thought to the 8 to 10 year old set riding the subway.  The woman who wrote the blog entry was, let's say, making a bigger deal out of it than the rest of us who consider it commonplace.  I think only NYers will understand the following:  it it is privileged mentality.  "Oh gosh, my kid road the subway by himself!  I'm so special and avant garde!"  I don't mean to be snarky, but there are very distinct class systems here and this is prime example.  JMHO.

you forgot to mention-this doesn't just happen in NYC

 

many cities you public transportation, that means buses as well

 

go for it!

 

 

 

 

Quote:
 because IMO people feel better about themselves if they are policing the "safety" of other people's children, e.g., putting their own standards onto others, even if they have not done one iota of research on risk

 

soooooooooooo true!

post #77 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

you forgot to mention-this doesn't just happen in NYC

 

many cities you public transportation, that means buses as well

 

go for it!

 

 

 

 

 

soooooooooooo true!


I didn't forget...just not qualified to speak for other locales!  orngbiggrin.gif

 

post #78 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post

 

In the US you have to wait longer because IMO people feel better about themselves if they are policing the "safety" of other people's children, e.g., putting their own standards onto others, even if they have not done one iota of research on risk.

 



I get what you're saying, but I think it's worth thinking a bit deeper on the subject.  While it's annoying and potentially very problematic (I'm thinking unnecessary CPS intervention) to deal with "busy bodies", on the flip side I think it is important for us all to watch out for the safety of kids - all kids - and not just bury our heads in the sand, thinking we should only look out for our own.  If I see a young kid who is by themselves I *do* pay a little extra attention.  No, I don't jump in and freak out and call the nearest cop, but I might just keep an eye on them for a bit.  For example, where I live is right on a busy commercial street in a big city.  If I saw a toddler or preschooler seemingly without an adult (on that street) I'd stay close until I could tell that there was in fact someone with them who was just a bit farther back down the street (this has happened a few times).  In the OP's scenario (6yo on a train) I might just keep an eye out and if, by some slim chance, the child did get hassled or seemed scared, etc, I would approach them to see if they needed my help.  I'm a friendly mommy and I'd like to think that in the very small off-chance that a kid was by themselves and actually needed help, I'd be able to give that help.  Just yesterday my friend took her 2yo to the Botanical Gardens and he managed to run off and hide in the split second that she took her eyes off him.  If I was in her shoes I'd be very grateful for someone "policing the safety of other people's children" if it meant keeping an eye on him until he could be safely reunited with his mom.

post #79 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post




Okay, feel compelled to put the NYC subway story in context, since I see it referenced here a lot on MDC as an example of free range.  First, it was the national media who made a big issue out of this, not New Yorkers.  The hard reality is that a lot of people view the NYC subway as a "dangerous place" and I would guess that a lot of these people are non-NYers.  Second, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of kids ride the subway every day here, even by themselves.  That is the way kids get to school...we don't have yellow buses here except in private school situations.  It cracks me up that this story reached such a wide audience, given that 9 year olds riding the subway is such a common occurrence here.  Most kids travel with their siblings and in groups of kids, but no one really gives a thought to the 8 to 10 year old set riding the subway.  The woman who wrote the blog entry was, let's say, making a bigger deal out of it than the rest of us who consider it commonplace.  I think only NYers will understand the following:  it it is privileged mentality.  "Oh gosh, my kid road the subway by himself!  I'm so special and avant garde!"  I don't mean to be snarky, but there are very distinct class systems here and this is prime example.  JMHO.

 


I have posted the same thing several times.  I live in Brooklyn and see many kids taking the subway by themselves every day.  They have to if their school is not within walking distance and there isn't anyone available to travel with them- yellow school buses are only provided up to 3rd grade.  The furor over the article was completely a class thing - the big deal was a middle class journalist's 9 year old son taking the subway by himself not "a nine year old".  My 4 year old has taken the subway almost every day of her life.  By the time she is 8 or 9, I can't see there being any problem with her taking it without me. 

 

post #80 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by ar2974 View Post




I have posted the same thing several times.  I live in Brooklyn and see many kids taking the subway by themselves every day.  They have to if their school is not within walking distance and there isn't anyone available to travel with them- yellow school buses are only provided up to 3rd grade.  The furor over the article was completely a class thing - the big deal was a middle class journalist's 9 year old son taking the subway by himself not "a nine year old".  My 4 year old has taken the subway almost every day of her life.  By the time she is 8 or 9, I can't see there being any problem with her taking it without me. 

 


Cool!  I'm in Brooklyn and have a 4.5 year old.  Subway is a way of life.  Nice to see you here.!

 

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