There's a reason the big yellow bus is emblazoned on every back-to-school sign in every store in every corner of America.
There are nearly half a million of them out there on the roads, transporting 23 million kids.
And this year, my kid will be one of them.
So I put out a request to a mix of experts and friends for a guide to riding the bus!
1. Find Them a Buddy. As soon as you learn what bus your child will be on, find another kid on the route who can show her the ropes. It will make them feel more comfortable when they climb aboard, and maybe save you from following that bus to school on day one.
2. Stick to the Front. Teacher friends suggest pre-K, kindergarten, and first graders belong in the front where the bus driver can keep an eye on them. This will also protect them from all those choice words they'll learn all too soon from the big kids.
3. Seat Belts Are Optional. It's the hardest pill to swallow for a mom, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not require a booster seat for the small kids. And despite the presence of seat belts on buses, unless your district has money for a bus aide, there is no one standing there telling your child to buckle up (or helping them do it for the younger kids). The only way to ensure it will happen is to drill this one into your kids' heads.
4. Get to the Stop Early. The first few weeks of school are an adjustment for everyone, so beware that the buses will not run on an exact schedule. Get your kids to the stop at least 5 minutes early, and don't give up if the vehicle isn't there. The same goes for the return trip. In my district, we're warned to expect the kids may be as much as half an hour late on the first few days.
5. Teach Your Kids to Follow the Driver's Cues. Whether your kids have to cross a road to clamber aboard or just need to stay back until the bus comes to a complete halt, they need to make sure the driver can see them at all times to avoid incident.
Image via Caitlinator/Flickr