New Rider: Tips for Getting on the School Bus

Ready to take the school bus? 


More than half of the nation’s schoolchildren ride one every day, according to the American School Bus Council. 


It makes good sense. Riding the bus takes cars off the road, reduces carbon monoxide and lowers traffic congestion at school.


Here are a few tips for making the transition from car to bus a smooth one:


Attend orientation day. Many schools let children ride the bus on orientation day. If your school doesn’t, you can inquire about volunteering on the bus during the first week of school.


Review safety and behavior expectations with your child. Here are some of the most important rules:


• Stay seated while the bus is moving.


• Talk quietly to avoid distracting the driver.


• Keep hands inside the windows.


• Report any problems to your bus driver.


• When exiting, walk several feet away from the bus so the driver can see you.


• Always cross in front of the bus – never behind.


• Never retrieve something from under the bus. 


Meet other parents and get to know your stop. Meeting other parents helps you become acquainted with other children. Consider taking turns monitoring the bus stop and the bus route. 


Troubleshoot the first day. Prior to the first day, show your child the bus stop. Write her name, address and phone number on one side of an index card. On the other side, jot down her bus number.


Most districts won’t allow kindergartners off the bus unless a caregiver is there to collect the child. Regardless of age, a child should never get off at an alternative stop.


Befriend your child’s driver. School bus drivers have a responsibility to see every child delivered safely home.


Drivers are just as concerned about bullying as teachers and receive training to deal with behavior issues. Report any problems promptly to the driver or to your child’s teacher.


Sending a child off on the bus feels daunting to any parent of a new rider. Try to remember that your child will learn the routine quickly. In a couple of weeks, he’ll be an old pro.


– Joanna Nesbitt

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