How to Teach Bus Safety To Your Children For School

It’s an exciting and emotional time when our kids tell us they’re old enough to catch the bus to school without us. It’s a sign they’re becoming more independent outside the home and are ready for more responsibility.

With my youngest, aside from other family members, catching the bus was the only way I could get her to school without a complete meltdown. If I took her, she would scream and cry. But on the bus, she thrived. Ouch.

Teaching them bus safety isn’t just a good thing for school but a lifelong learning experience. I still remember what I was taught about getting off the bus every time I get off a bus.

Teaching your kids about bus safety

Read our top tips on how you can easily and simply teach your children bus safety for school:

Getting to and from the bus station

Ensure the safe transportation of your children to and from the bus stop. Accompany your child until they reach age 10, holding their hand while walking to and from the bus stop or interchange and when crossing roads. Stand at a safe distance from passing traffic and the coming bus until it has made a complete stop.

Getting them on the bus

Show them how to wait for the bus to stop and open its doors. Holding their hand, demonstrate how to hold the handle on the door and step up onto the bus platform. Then, lead them to a seat and show them how to use it.

bus safety for school
Source: Bigstock

Getting them comfortable

Talk to your child about what happens on the bus, why they have to catch it and where it takes them. If your school bus has seatbelts, practice with your child until they can click and unclick the belt themselves. If you can, go with them for the first week of school or until they let you know you don’t have to go anymore.

During the journey

Encourage your child to practice safe bus behaviour. If the bus has a no-food policy, remind them to leave their food in their bag until they get to school. Remind them to stay in their seat and to not distract the driver unless it is an emergency.

bus safety driver
Bus safety is a must. Source: Bigstock

Getting off the bus

If you can go with your child, model the behaviour you want them to copy. Instruct them to only move once the bus has stopped. And then wait for a gap in the line of other kids before stepping into the aisle. As with getting on, hold their hand (if you can) as they exit the bus so they know how to do it safely.

Ensure they know to only get off the bus at their designated bus stop. If they are catching the bus to a friend’s house with your permission, let the school know so they can let the bus driver know.

Your child is most at risk just after getting off the bus. To reduce this risk, meet your child at the bus stop, never on the opposite side of the road. If you cannot meet your child at the bus stop, arrange for another trusted adult or teenager to meet them there. NEVER call them to run to you from across the road.

Getting home

Holding hands, wait until the bus has pulled away from the curb and the road is clear before crossing. Use your road safety knowledge to show them how to cross the road safely and explain why you should never cross in front of or behind the bus until it’s driven away.

STOP! One step back from the kerb.
LOOK! For traffic to your right, left and right again.
LISTEN! For the sounds of approaching traffic.
THINK! Whether it is safe to cross.

What if they catch the wrong bus?

This can be a scary thing for little kids. Often, they feel like they’ve done something wrong and become very emotional. Talk this scenario over with your kids. If they catch the wrong bus, they need to approach the bus driver when the bus has stopped and let them know they are on the wrong bus. This is a good reason to work with your child to memorise your phone number. The driver will either contact the depot and arrange a bus transfer or keep your child on the bus until they return to the depot and contact you.

If this happens, reassure your child they are not in the wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, and catching buses is intimidating for kids.

bus safety on the bus
Source: Bigstock

What if they leave their bag on the bus?

The thought of a half-eaten lunch staying on a bus is one I don’t want to think of. As the house dishwasher, cleaning it is a nightmare. If your child is one of the first kids dropped off and you notice in time, it’s easy to call the depot, who will get in contact with the driver, and you can get the bag from the depot. If you don’t notice or don’t get told until the next day, hopefully, the driver will return the bag to the school and leave it at the depot, or it will still be on the bus.

Catching the bus to school is a right of passage for most school kids in Australia. With gentle guidance and repetition, your child will know the busy safety rules and catch the bus like a champ in no time. Yes, it’s one more step they take away from you on the road to independence, but it’s so fulfilling to see the pride of their little faces.

For more bus safety tips, visit the Safety Town website.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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