School is back in session, busses are on the road and the wheels are going round and round. During the school year, most kids will have the opportunity to ride a bus. They may ride the bus to school each day, take it to a friend's home or board it for extracurricular activities and field trips. It is important that every child is aware of some bus riding basics.
Make certain that your child knows how to safely board and de-board the bus. Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop. Always cross well in front of the bus and make eye contact with the driver. If your child can't see the driver the driver certainly can't see them.
Each driver will have guidelines and expectations to insure a safe and pleasant trip. Riders need to sit (on a seat, not the floor), clear the aisle of belongings, keep body parts and objects inside, keep hands and feet to themselves, clean up their messes and talk with "inside voices." Bus drivers appreciate smiles, pleases, thank yous and appropriate language.
When the weather becomes colder, it is important for your child to wear appropriate clothing on the bus. If a bus becomes stranded, it may take some time for help to arrive. Busses get cold very quickly.
If your child drives to school, help your young driver review the rules of the road when it comes to school buses. Reminders about stopping, passing and speed limits might save a life.
Know that riding the school bus is a privilege, not a right. If your child's behaviors or apparel are causing a safety hazard to themselves or others, the driver has the responsibility to provide consequences. Your child may lose the privilege of riding the bus. I remember the battles of making certain my kids wore weather appropriate apparel for the bus ride when they didn't agree with the school policy. I smile about the time I lost a battle and my child came back inside to tell me that he/she was not allowed to ride the bus that winter morning. The shorts, tennis shoes, no gloves and no coat had not made the grade. I was pleased, called the school and asked that the bus driver be thanked for enforcing school policy.
Thank you to everyone that keeps the wheels on the busses going round and round!
(Holly Arnold works with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.)