Do you live in a large city? Do you not have enough time in the day to take your kids to school? Perhaps the city’s public transportation might be able to help you out. Teaching your children to use public transportation doesn’t just help you. It also helps them become more confident in themselves. However, it’s important to teach them the proper ways to use it, so they’re safe around others and so they reach their destination without issues. Here are a few ways you can instill these lessons in your children.
Go With Them
Until your children are comfortable riding public transit, you should ride it with them. Show them how to get on and off the train or bus, and how to use transit cards. Teach them about the maps and schedules, and also show them any areas of the city they should avoid. As time goes on, let your child lead the way, until both they and you are confident that they’ll be okay if they ride without you.
Don’t Send Them Alone
Never let your children use public transportation alone. If they use the transit system to get home from school, find another group of kids in the neighborhood, and arrange it so they all ride together. Use the buddy system as much as you can, until your children are at least 16 years old. You don’t know who else is riding on the transit system as well. If your child is alone, that leaves them vulnerable. Make sure your child is safe by teaching them they must always ride with someone they know.
Apps For Tickets
Don’t send cash with your kids when they use public transit. They could lose the money or have it stolen. Instead, download an app and use it to pay for the tickets your child needs to use the transportation system. This method will also help you keep track of where they go and how much is spent on tickets.
Make Emergency Plans
Before you send your kids out without you, make a plan for them to follow in the event of an emergency. Not only should they know not to be alone or talk to strangers, but talk about what they should do if something scarier happens. What if there’s a terrorist attack or an earthquake? What if there’s an accident on the transit system? These things may seem unlikely, and it’s true that you’ll probably never need to use these plans, but if something does happen, your child will know what to do to contact you so you know they’re safe. Often, emergency plans are less about the actual use of them and more about the peace of mind having a plan in place offers.
Teaching your kids how to use public transit is an important life skill for families in big cities. Not only that, letting your child go out into the city without you shows a level of trust in them—even if you’re truly terrified for their safety the entire time. That trust will turn into confidence and they’ll treasure the relative independence you’ve given them. With these rules ingrained in them, you’ll know they’re as safe as they can be, even when you’re not around.
Tags: life lessons, parenting