The big yellow bus
Your first-time rider thinks it’s either the coolest thing since pop rocks or rates it scarier than the big rat character at the local pizza place. If your child’s of the latter, soothe her worries and ensure her trips to and from school are safe with these travel tips.
Get on board
Many schools provide bus orientation sessions before the school year starts. Take a few practice rides together and mention the fun things about riding a bus: The seats are big, so she can sit with a friend. She sits up high so she can look out.
Say hello to the driver
Your child should learn the driver’s name and her bus number. Get the driver’s contact information, as well as that of the school transportation coordinator’s, in case of emergencies.
Let the driver and your school principal know if your child’s being bullied by other riders or if you hear of conduct problems such as swearing.
Ask an older child from your neighborhood to ride the bus with your child for the first week or so of school or if you feel she’s being picked on. Get to know the parents of other riders and work together to supervise bus stops to ensure there’s no misconduct or rough-housing while children wait for the bus.
Check her gear
Make sure jackets and backpacks have no loose drawstrings or long straps that could get caught in the handrail or bus door.
Taking the wrong bus home or getting off at the wrong stop are classic fears. Assure him that a teacher or teacher’s helper will see him off the bus at school, as well as ensure he gets on the right one at the end of the day. The driver will guide him when it’s time to come home.
Don’t goof around at the bus stop, stay on the sidewalk.
Don’t rush for the bus. The driver will open the door only when the bus comes to a complete stop. Instruct your child to wait for this cue before moving toward the bus.
Always obey the bus driver.
Walk in front of, never behind, the bus.
Be alert to traffic.
Never stand up or walk on a moving bus.
Use a seat belt if one’s provided.
Hold onto the hand rail when getting off the bus.
Don’t stop to pick up dropped items (bending over makes her invisible to the driver) or go back to the bus to retrieve an item (again, the driver may not see her). Assure her you truly won’t be mad if something’s left behind.