The Big Yellow School Bus: A First-Time Rider's Guide
Parents, your toddler may be excited to start kindergarten or the new school year, but the big yellow bus might just be a different story!
It is true that children are comfortable with personal vehicles---but the yellow bus can be quite intimidating for a few! After all, it is so big!
Here are some steps that I’ll suggest you take before waving your child goodbye as they board their school bus:
Take a Tour of the Bus:
A lot of districts in the United States have orientation programs where the little ones can get on a parked school bus, look around, and get all of their questions answered. This will certainly help relieve your child’s anxiety.
Take a Trip to the Library!
Ahhhh... An excellent excuse to visit the local bookstore or library. You can get some story books that feature your child’s favorite characters riding the school bus. I would like to recommend "Molly Rides the School Bus." It is written and illustrated by the talented Julie Brillhart.
Develop a Buddy System!
You can always ask an older child with whom your child is familiar with to sit with your child or stick close by for the first few days of school in order to make your child feel more safe and secure.
Familiarize Your Child with his/her Bus Stop:
One thing that can be truly traumatizing for your child is getting off at the wrong stop. So, try to familiarize your child with the landmarks around his stop to avoid that. Most districts require there to be an adult at the bus stop. Just be sure to not rely on that alone.
Some Basic Bus Stop Etiquette
It is really important that you clarify the things that are allowed and the things that aren’t allowed at the bus stop for the sake of safety.
Following are some guidelines:
Arrive at least 5 minutes early to the bus stop.
Waiting on the street is a no-no. You should wait on the sidewalk instead.
Always look both ways before crossing the street.
Get in a line when the bus arrives and don’t cut or push---younger children should go first.
Please teach your child to never pick something up that they may have dropped while getting on the bus. Tell them to inform the driver or the teacher to get it for them instead.
Teach your child to never get off at a stop that is not his or hers---even if their friend invites them over!
As a parent, get to know the other kids and their parents who share the same bus stop as you.
Teaching your child basic bus etiquette and clearing any concerns that they may have will result in a responsible and empowered child! Good luck to you all and please be sure to share your experiences with the rest of us!