Walking to school may not be an option if you live far from your child’s school. They may need to catch the school bus. Regardless of whether they’ve caught the bus every single day beforehand, it’s a good idea to prepare them ahead of any new change. Particularly if they have no experience in getting on the bus all together. To do that, you may decide to accompany them on their journey for the first week of school so that they feel less anxious and become familiar with the route.
We have teamed up with an independent boys’ school in London to share our top tips for preparing your child for the school bus.
As your child will be travelling on a moving vehicle, it’s important that they are aware of any safety risks and how to overcome them. For example, it can be dangerous to move around on a bus when it is moving which is why it’s important to stay seated where possible and use the aids available. Make sure you have gone over these rules and safety measures with tour child before their first trip.
Another safety lesson to cover is stranger danger. It’s important that your child knows not to speak to strangers, unless they know who they are e.g., they are a bus conductor that’s in uniform. This is important for the whole aspect f their journey, at the bus stop, on the bus and walking home again too.
Look for a buddy
A buddy can make the journey to school a lot more entertaining for a child and help them to overcome their initial nerves. This is something that you can do by speaking to other parents. If you do not know any of the parents from your child’s school then maybe ask the teacher to send a message out to them on your behalf or post in the local facebook group and see if anyone responds, chances are they will be worried about their child’s journey too.
A local map can serve as a trusty guide and, at the very least, offer your child comfort knowing that they can work out their way to and from school if the unexpected happens. If they have a smart phone they show them how to use the map function on their device and be sure to teach them their address so they know what to type in.
Before they do it alone, you should do a few test runs to see if your child is 100% confident at getting on the school bus. You will be able to build on their understanding practically and build their confidence. Although it will be hard, if not impossible, to get them to try the school bus before school starts, you may be able to get them to use a local bus service and just practice going from one stop to another to get them used to the overall experience for traveling by bus.