I never gave much thought about my son riding the bus to school. Honestly, our original school of choice (when we were dreaming of having kids) was on the way to and from work for my husband, and we always assumed our child would go there because of that convenience.
Fast forward to panic mode when our son, age 4 at the time, moved in. School registration was already closed, and we had to hope for a spot at ANY school, much less the one we had always thought would work for us.
We toured ONE school and knew it was meant to be, but it was not at all convenient from a travel perspective. Our son was begging to ride the bus, so on the second day of school, we walked down to the bus route and made it happen.
Of course, I got comments about it, mostly negative. “How could I let my 4 year old ride the bus?” “There aren’t any seat belts.” “What if there’s an accident?”
All valid concerns. But what about the benefits of riding the bus?
- First, drop off and pick up at his school is a nightmare.
- My son attends school off of Johnston Street, one of the main thoroughfares in town, and afternoon traffic is horrendous. Our Parents Club hires police patrol to help move traffic along, but it’s still a logistical mess. With the bus, we don’t have to deal with any of it!
- Second, the social aspect.
- My son has made so many friends while riding the bus. We were a little behind the curve when it came to meeting neighborhood kids, so the bus gave him an opportunity to meet friends that lived nearby.
- Third, it fosters independence.
- Riding the bus comes with its own set of rules. Being respectful of space, ensuring you’re not distracting the driver by misbehaving, staying seated even when you’re tempted to play – all rules meant to foster discipline and independence.
On the days we do not have bus service, I’m quickly reminded why I treasure our bus driver so much. If your kid is asking to ride the bus, and it’s feasible, give it a try. It really can be a great experience.