At the beginning of the school year, I spend a lot of time in the front office looking for student files and tracking kids down who are supposed to be in my program. When you spend a lot of time in the front office, you learn a lot about the behind the scenes action that goes on in the school. Today, I would like to share with you what I have learned about the dos and don’ts of sending kids off in a school bus. Oh, and some of the things I learned from having been a school bus rider myself.
Do make sure your children are registered to ride the bus. Check with your school district, not necessarily the school, to find out how to register your child for the school bus. If your child is not on the bus driver’s list, it could cause delays and problems. It may also be a good idea to wait for the bus with your child the first week of school.
Don’t assume the school bus stops are in the same locations as the year before. Be sure to triple check the bus route and stops for your children. Sometimes changes are made, even during the school year, and you want to make sure you are in the loop.
Do review with your children appropriate behavior and safety procedures. I remember our bus drivers going over the school bus rules with us every year. Get your kids ready for school bus rules ahead of time. Make sure your kids understand how important it is for them to sit in their seats, face forward and not walk around on the bus. Help them understand why they need to keep noise levels down so the bus driver can concentrate on the traffic. Be sure that your kids know that they should not walk in front of or behind the bus. It can be so difficult for the bus driver to see them. Accidents do happen, but your kids can be prepared to prevent many accidents from happening at all.
Don’t assume that the bus will always pick your kids up. Sometimes it happens. The bus misses a stop and the kids are left behind. What are your kids supposed to do if this happens? This is a good time to think about it and make a plan. Also, if you are a parent who happens to notice a bus stop with kids who have been left behind, don’t haul them all to school in your personal vehicle. It’s not a safe situation for you or the kids. You can stay with them and call the school, the school district and, if necessary, the school district police.
Do get to know the bus driver. Whether your kids like it or not, you should check out the bus stop and meet the bus driver. This is the person that is taking responsibility for your children every morning and afternoon. It’s not a bad idea to introduce yourself, learn the bus driver’s name and make a connection.
Every school district has different policies for running their school bus system. If your kids are going to ride the bus, make it a priority to understand how the bus system works for your kids. Good luck to all the kids heading out on school bus rides this year!