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Your child’s first time riding the bus

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

How to make a smooth transition to bus riding

Don’t get nervous about your child’s first time riding the school bus. Try these tips to overcome your nerves and teach your child how to stay safe while taking the bus to school.
Riding the bus for the first time

Statistically speaking, riding the bus to school is safer than taking a personal vehicle. As your child prepares for the first time taking the bus to school, try to stay calm. We’ve got safety tips and input from moms to help you through this big transition.

Prepare for the big day

Try to keep your own worries in check. Chances are, you’re more nervous than you child is. You don’t want those jitters to wear off on your kid. Talk about what it’s like on the bus, and try to visit a school bus ahead of time if you can. Ask your child if she has any questions about riding the bus. Stress the importance of following directions and listening to the bus driver. Remind your child to remain seated and facing forward at all times.

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Be aware of the danger zone around the bus

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration refers to the area around the bus as the “danger zone.” This is the 10 feet in front of, behind and on the sides of the bus. In this area, children need to be cautious of the bus itself, as well as other drivers on the road. Teach your child to look carefully for traffic. While your child is young, escort her to the bus and be there when she gets off.

Be proactive about behavior concerns

If your child tells you about behavior problems on the bus, be proactive. Issues like bullying, stealing or fighting should be brought up to the school administration as well as the transportation administration responsible for the school bus. There’s always a chance your child is part of a behavior issue. If you think this is the case, remind your child about why it’s especially important to behave on the bus and keep from distracting the driver.

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Moms chime in: First-time freakouts and no biggies

“Oh my goodness the first time my firstborn rode the bus it didn't drop him off after school! It was horrifying because we had no idea if he was on the bus? At school? Where was he? The bus skipped our house and eventually brought him home,” says blogger Stephanie Precourt, who writes at Adventures in Babywearing.

“There is no greater act of faith!” jokes blogger Kim Moldofsky. “OK, there might be, but this is a big one.”

“Aren't we all way more nervous about it than [they are]?” asks Jen, who blogs at Mommy Instincts. “It's crazy! I considered following the bus but our route is very short, 10 minutes max around our neighborhood and one other. He is the second stop in the morning and after school. It's no big deal to us anymore.”

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