3 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Riding the School Bus
Guest post by Gloria Kopp
Starting school is a new and exciting time for your child, and part of that is riding the school bus. If they’ve never traveled without you before, this may be a scary step for them. If your child will be getting the bus, here’s three tips to help them get ready for the bus ride every day.
The benefits of riding the bus
You may have a lot of options for getting your kids to school. There’s walking, driving, or carpooling with another parent. However, there’s a lot to be said for your child getting the school bus. For one thing, it gives them a small amount of independence, getting on and off the bus by themselves. It gives both you and them some more freedom in your everyday lives. As well as this, it’s an opportunity for them to make friends, before they get to school itself.
Prepare your child for riding the school bus
Now that you’ve decided that your child will get the school bus, you need to prepare them. This is a new change in their routine, and they’ll need you to help them navigate it. With a little planning and forethought, they’ll soon settle into this routine. Here’s how to get started.
1. Plan ahead
This tip is especially important if your child is nervous about the school bus. The trick is to plan well ahead, and show your child exactly what they should expect. One good way of doing this is read books about getting on the bus. There are plenty on the market, so pick out a few that you think your child would enjoy.
If you can, introduce your child to the staff that will be driving the bus. This means they know who’s in charge when they’re on the bus, and they’ll feel more comfortable asking questions if the need arises.
“Ensure you answer any questions your child has, too. They look to adults to see if they should be worried or scared, so be calm in dealing with anything to do with the bus. If you’re transparent in what you tell them, they’ll feel much more confident,” says Patricia Low, a psychologist.
2. Create a routine
Once your child starts getting the plus, create a routine that will help them get used to the bus ride. Review the bus rules every morning, so the child knows what’s expected of them. Have a good drop off and pick up routine in place, too. Make sure you or a trusted caregiver gets them to the bus stop and picks them up again at the same time each day. This will especially help nervous children, as they’ll see that you’re there to fetch them every day.
You can also get a ‘bus buddy’ for your child. This could be an older sibling or family friend, that helps your child find a seat on the bus. This can go a long way towards helping them feel safe, as they know someone else on the bus.
3. Have a plan for unwanted behavior
As your child is on the bus alone, you can’t control what they see or hear. What you can do, though, is have a plan for if anything happens.
If you find your child is being bullied on the bus, teach them some techniques for dealing with it. Amber Coburn, a teacher, shares her opinion on the issue: “Teach them how to ask someone to stop, and if they don’t, tell them to move towards the driver or ask for help. If this doesn’t stop the behavior, get in touch with your child’s school and ask them to step in.”
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When your child picks up some mannerisms or ‘jokes’ that you find distasteful in your household, the key is not to react in shock. “If your child uses a vulgar word and you react to it, it gives the behavior more power. Instead, explain to your child calmly that sort of behavior isn’t permitted in your home. If they insist that everyone on the bus does it, just reply, ‘I expect better from you,'” says Thomas Green, says a tutor.
These tips will help you prepare your child for getting the school bus every day, and make them feel comfortable with this new routine. It’ll also help you deal with any issues that arise from them riding the school bus. The benefits are many and varied, so it’s well worth getting your child ready now. By the time they start school, they’ll be excited and ready to use this new found freedom with you.
Gloria Kopp is a digital marketer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a business writer and an educator, now she works as a tutor.
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We originally published this post in August 2017. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.