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Friday, 18 September 2020

Helping Your Child Prepare for the School Bus

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As many children have started heading back into school after almost 6 months off, many of us are trying to settle into a different kind of routine full of school runs, packed lunches and uniform washing. But just as we begin to find our feet, for some there is something else to think about and that is secondary school applications. For some, myself included, between now and 31st October we have to think about which secondary school we want our year 6 children to attend. 

For so many children, starting secondary school is a sign on growing up and becoming more independent. That might mean walking to school with friends, cycling alone or even getting a school bus if your chosen school is out of walking distance. The school bus has quickly become a part of many children’s daily routine and is vital to help children get to and from schools. However, if your child has never taken the bus before, especially by themselves, they may be feeling slightly nervous.

To help ease those nerves and prepare your child for this new experience, here are a few tips from a preparatory school in West Sussex

Preparation

Preparation is key and being prepared and aware of what is going to happen can help ease a lot of anxiety and stress for both adults and kids. Therefore it is a good idea to visit the bus stop before your child begins their new travel routine if this is something they will need to do by themselves as part of the school routine. Watching other children using the bus can help your child to feel more comfortable about travelling alone and it may also help to settle your own nerves. Visiting the bus stop will also ensure that you know the exact journey time to get there, you don’t want them to miss the bus on their first day! 

Furthermore, you could practice the bus journey in your own car, so that your child can familiarise themselves with the route, seeing familiar landmarks or places on the car journey and the bus will ease their nerves about being in the right place and on the right journey.

Friends

We all know that having a friend or group of friends can be helpful to kids and really helps them feel more confident if they don't have to tackle something they are worried about alone. Having a friend on the bus can help your child to feel more relaxed and at ease. If you don't really know any of the children who will be catching the bus, you could try to speak to the school and see if they have organised a ‘travel buddy’ system. 

You may also be able to find out in advance who they will be pared with, or arrange for your child to sit with a particular friend. If your child is free to choose their own seat, then you could arrange to meet a friend at the bus stop or ask on a local school group via social media as these are often set up for children joining new schools across schools. This will allow your child to board the bus with their friend and have someone to share the journey with each morning. 

Safety

Finally, it is important to discuss safety rules with your child before they begin taking the school bus. Explain why they must wear a seatbelt and remain seated while the bus is in motion. This is probably something they are already aware of as they will have been having to do this in the car each time however it is always important to reiterate the same rules apply on the bus too. It is also important that your child is aware of ‘stranger danger’ and knows road safety rules, especially if they are older and will be making their way home from the bus stop.

If your child has concerns about travelling to school without you, it is important to discuss their worries and reassure them. Let them know that there will always be an adult on board and they can alert the driver if they have any safety concerns. Before you know it your child will probably enjoy the freedom and independence of getting their own way to school too. 

Did you ever catch the school bus or is this something your child does now? Do you have any tips to share about making the journey as easy as possible for kids? 

xXx


**This is a collaborative post**

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