Readers! Let’s call this a “Catch 12”: you are old enough to do something independent, but not allowed to do it independently:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’ve got my 11 & 12 year old sons registered to take a babysitting class through our local children’s medical center. The reminder email stated:
Please send a water bottle, lunch and snack with your child. There is no cafeteria available. (Because clearly, neither I nor my kids would think of this on our own for a class that runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.!)
Class ends promptly at 2 p.m. Please arrive to the classroom by 1:50 p.m. for a summary of the day and to pick up your child. For your child’s safety please let the instructor know if you plan to have someone other than yourself pick up your child from the classroom.
So I replied:
Hi, my kids have been learning how to bus around town this summer. Are they not allowed to arrive without an adult? What about leaving on their own?
Here’s their response:
We really appreciate you checking in on this ahead of time. Due to safety concerns, it is our standard practice to ask that a parent or caregiver accompany the child to the class. The instructor checks each student in and confirms an emergency contact number with the adult. We also ask that the instructor see each child leave with a parent, caregiver or designated adult.
I apologize if this causes any scheduling concerns for you. If you’d like to schedule your child for a different class that occurs when you can accompany them, we’d be happy to waive the transfer fee and schedule them in a class with availability. Let me know if you want to do that or if you have any questions.
Thanks again for contacting us with the question. I hope your child enjoys the upcoming class!
And my reply:
I can make it happen, it’s just kind of silly that kids who are to be responsible for little ones aren’t given a chance to be responsible for themselves. It’s also not good for the environment, my time or our gas budget.
Does it make a difference if it’s two siblings that would be traveling together?
I haven’t heard back from them yet. Isn’t this just ridiculous?! I won’t stop being a Free-Range Parent, but goodness, sometimes it’s just so dang tiring dealing with friends, family, society, etc. that think I’m crazy for letting my kids do things like walk, bike, and bus around town; for working for neighbors; and you know the rest! ~~Cheryl