By Robert Nickell
Preparing for the first day of school can be stressful enough for parents and children, and when you add a first bus ride to the mix, well it’ll make you realize just how brave, outgoing and incredible your young children are.
I’ve experienced many first days of school and first bus rides and I’ve put together some tips that will help ensure these important firsts go smoothly.
— ROUTINE: Beginning toward the end of summer it’s important to set up a morning routine with your children. Get them comfortable with the routine prior to the first day of school so they’ll be prepared to jump back into the swing of things when the time comes. Having a routine will help school mornings run more smoothly, your child will be less flustered, more confident and less likely to miss the school bus when it stops on its daily route.
— GET THE SCHEDULE: Prior to the first day of school, pick up the school bus schedule and make sure you fully understand it. Know where the bus will stop and at exactly what time. Also make sure you know where it stops both before and after your stop — in the off chance you’re running early or late one day you’ll be able to drive your child to catch the bus during its route. If you have questions regarding the bus schedule please contact your school system ASAP, so there is no confusion when it’s time for the first bus ride to school.
— HELLO AND GOODBYE: It’s important — for safety reasons if nothing else — to walk your child to and from the bus stop each day. Additionally, the consistency of seeing your face each time they board the bus in the morning and get off the bus in the afternoon will be reassuring for your child and essentially make the bus riding experience a little less stressful and hectic.
— MEMORIZE: Go over the schedule with your child and have them memorize it. Ask them where the bus will pick them up and where the bus will drop them off and also make sure they know what time. I know you’ll be walking them to and from the bus stop, but having an understanding of exactly what’s going to happen will give your child confidence. I also suggest reading books about riding the bus, watching television episodes about riding the bus, etc. This way your child will really know what to expect.
— PRACTICE RUN: I am a supporter of practice, and my family has drills or practice runs for activities quite often. Before it’s time for the first bus ride I suggest you do several practice runs so your child will know how the bus riding experience will work into their daily routine. Walk with them to the bus stop at the proper time — morning and afternoon — explain to them that a bus will pick them up here and then drop them off here at the appropriate time.
The start of a new school year can be chaotic, but if you begin discussing the routines and happenings in advance you and your child will do great.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of seven, offers his five cents-worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gear for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a dad’s perspective.