One of the hardest things for parents is teaching their children how to appropriately behave themselves when they are away from them. Behaving on a school bus is area that should be concentrated on more often. Luckily, in today’s society, more school districts are required to have bus monitors on each bus to help ensure the overall safety of the passengers and the driver. Of course, more emphasis can be put on bus safety by parents. There are many different ways that you can help teach your child proper bus behavior and etiquette and ensure that they are being carried out.
Be active in your child’s school. Find out what concerns bus drivers and bus monitors have for all children in their care. Understand the rules that the school district already has in place for school bus passengers that way you can properly communicate and re-enforce these rules with your child.
Establish your own rules for riding the bus to and from school. Sitting quietly, keeping hands to ones self and speaking quietly are all great suggestions. As with all rules, you should discuss the rules often and remain consistent in your expectations.
Reward your child for behaving properly while they ride the bus. Verbal praise is one of the most effective rewards that you can give to your child. Not only will they understand that you recognize their efforts, but that they are also appreciated.
Determine whether or not your child is capable of riding the bus without close supervision. If your child is not, consider the possibilities of riding with your child or driving your child to school yourself.
Have your child tell you what some of the bus rules are. Have them explain to you what they think the rules mean in their own words. This is a great opportunity for you to measure your child’s understanding of the rules already in place, and gives you the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions.
If it has been brought to your attention that your child is misbehaving on the bus, speak with your child and let him/her know exactly what it is they are doing wrong, what/how they should be doing, and what the consequences for misbehavior is.
Some busses will give out “fines” or refuse to allow your child to ride the bus for a period of time following reoccurring behavioral problems. You should allow these consequences so that your child can see the result of their own behavior.
Have an older sibling or friend sit next to your child on the bus to model appropriate behavior.
You can also ask your child’s bus driver to give your child a special responsibility while on the bus such as helping the bus monitor or giving the bus driver directions!
If your child’s behavior is being encouraged by other children with like behavior, you may request that they not be allowed to sit next to one another.
Encourage your child to let you know if he or she is having any kind of problem when riding the bus such as bullying. These incidents should be shared with the bus monitor, driver or school so that it may be resolved immediately.
Request that your child be seated in the front of the bus until they can earn the privilege of sitting with friends or in another area of the bus.
There are many things that you can do as a parent to ensure your child is behaving properly when you are not around. The most important factor is your ability to communicate openly and lovingly with your child. Always remember to keep the lines of communication open with the school and with the bus driver to ensure they are aware that your child rides the bus. Make sure that you have personally met the bus driver, and attempt to be available to be at the stop to meet your child when they get off the bus, this is a great opportunity to speak with the bus driver with any immediate concerns you may have or vise versa. Have your child’s bus driver bring any incidents to your attention immediately, even if the driver deals with the incident themselves. Lastly, always intervene early when you hear of your child having problems on the bus in order to prevent more serious problems from occurring.