What if instead of a school bus, cities were equipped with giant conveyor belts that led from the doorways of homes everywhere right to the front steps of schools? Children would walk outside each morning, step onto their designated conveyor belt, look around for their friends, sip their juice boxes, and enjoy fresh air and sunshine as the massive rubber belts carried them easily to school.
Oh well. We have buses instead. And until the conveyor belt revolution catches on, we have to deal with them, which means it's important to teach your child about school bus safety. Unlike stepping onto an enormous, slow-moving, low-maintenance rubber transport belt, boarding a school bus is actually a complex, sometimes risky affair. Here are a few rules to communicate to your child to make sure they know how to board and disembark their school bus the right way.
Timing is Everything
Alright, so in many ways, this one is on you, the parent. Everyone knows haste makes waste, but did you know that haste also makes unsafe school bus boarding? It's true. Making sure your child is on time, or even early to arrive at their bus stop means they won't have to worry about rushing.
People in a hurry create risky traffic situations every day, and the same is true for pedestrians. If your child is running to get to their bus, they won't be as aware of their environment, which could cause them to engage in unsafe behaviors along the way. Nail down a schedule that allows them to get to their bus early and stick with it.
Getting On the Bus
Make sure your child understands crossing signals, bus lights and signs, and the importance of crossing streets safely when they need to do so to board their bus. Tell them to never rush when getting onto their bus and to be mindful of other students. And make sure their shoes are tied before they head out. All of these bus safety tips will be for naught if they trip over their own feet while mounting the last step and embarrass themselves in front of a busful of their peers.
Getting Off the Bus
After a long day at school, it's understandable that your child would be in a hurry to get home. It's important that they know to never rush when disembarking a bus, however. Tell them to climb down the steps carefully, observe traffic patterns, look both ways when crossing, and follow all relevant pedestrian rules. It will keep your child safer and help both you and their bus driver rest easier.
Set the Rules Starting Now
The earlier you can help your child understand the importance of school bus safety, the better. Young children are often impulsive, so establishing a disciplined routine from a young age is essential. Riding the bus will be something your child does often, which means habits, good or bad, will be reinforced by daily behavior. Make sure their habits are good ones and you will feel confident that they know how to get on and off their bus safely each day. As a parent, that feeling is worth a thousand giant conveyor belts.