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Preparing child to catch public bus to school

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#1 lulu85

Posted 21 September 2019 - 06:51 PM

I would love to get people's tips on how they got their child ready to catch a public bus to school.

DD is nearly 9 and her dad has recently moved somewhere that is a 1.5km (5-10min) bus ride from DD's school. (I live on the other side of the school and DD and I walk to school). Her dad would like to get DD ready to catch the bus on her own and, while earlier than I would otherwise plan, I'm open to the idea if the right plans are in place. DD is happy to do it (she is asking me all the time when she can walk to the shops by herself!). She is reasonably mature and independent, although sometimes off in her own little world.

We are in Sydney and her dad lives at a major transport hub with multiple bus routes that go past her school. He would put her on the bus and drop off is right outside the school gates (no roads to cross). On the way back, the bus stop is across the road from school (with traffic lights to cross) and he says he will meet her at the other end.

So what plans should we have in place? My list so far:
- Practice runs - initially with her dad, then him putting her on the bus and me making sure she gets off at the other end
- Phone where her dad can track her - text when she gets to school and when she gets on the bus from school. Should I tell the school so they can call if she doesn't arrive?
- Bus behaviour - stay near the driver or where she can get off the bus, don't talk to anyone, no distractions
- Reinforce general safety discussions
- Contingency plans - if she misses her stop, bus breaks down, forgets something on the bus, dad isn't at stop at the other end

Anything I am missing? (Apologies for the long post but I'm struggling a bit with my baby growing up!)

#2 gettin my fance on

Posted 21 September 2019 - 07:10 PM

I would do a street view to see where the bus stop before the school is and if there are any landmarks/businesses etc just after that stop so that she knows when to push the button to get off at the school, in case she finds herself the only one getting off at the school.

I know that when to push the button was the thing that made DD most anxious when she was coming home from school as if she overshot the correct bus stop the next one was a really long way away and not in the same street.

#3 LiveLife

Posted 21 September 2019 - 07:30 PM

We are a similar distance to school (slightly less. At 1.4km) and always walk or ride to school. As does every other kid in the neighbourhood. I’d find it weird bussing 1.5km.... is that distance definitely correct? Our walk is about 15 minutes tops

Edited by LiveLife, 21 September 2019 - 07:31 PM.

#4 Prancer is coming

Posted 21 September 2019 - 07:55 PM

I think if you decide she is old enough to catch a bus I would not weigh her down with too many things to do.  And think about what is for her benefit and what is for yours.  I would think texting is something that would be easy to forget to do, particularly when arriving at school and the busyness of before school.

I think you may also be giving mixed messages by telling her not to speak to strangers but surely a contingency plan would involve the need to ask for help.  I know for me as an adult I sometimes need to ask someone to press the button for the next stop if I had an aisle seat.  She also would not be able to reach the button if she had to stand.

The main thing for me is they know what stop to get off at, either by counting down (or up) in numbers or visually.  And they can work out where they need to be if they miss it and get off at the next stop, or how to respond if they miss it all together.

#5 lulu85

Posted 21 September 2019 - 08:04 PM

View PostLiveLife, on 21 September 2019 - 07:30 PM, said:

We are a similar distance to school (slightly less. At 1.4km) and always walk or ride to school. As does every other kid in the neighbourhood. I’d find it weird bussing 1.5km.... is that distance definitely correct? Our walk is about 15 minutes tops

Livelife - thanks for asking. Yes, it is correct. It’s a very busy area so, while close, walking or riding (on her own) would be much more dangerous (lots of busy roads) than the bus. I would love it if we lived somewhere where it was safe to walk/ride to school at this stage. I should add, By safe, I only mean road safety not anything else.

Edited by lulu85, 21 September 2019 - 08:10 PM.

#6 Grrrumbles

Posted 21 September 2019 - 08:24 PM

Our local police YouTube channel for children suggests that children ask a parent with children or a shopkeeper for help if needed. There might be a public transport version you could watch with her.

I also remind the children that if an adult asks them for something (there are a lot of beggars at our local shops unfortunately) that they can ignore them or suggest they ask an adult. The police site suggested this too as sometimes children will be approached if they are standing waiting somewhere but a genuine person would not expect a child to help when there are other people around.

#7 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:26 AM

I think your plan that her father catches bus with her for awhile, then you are at the other end to check she arrives are good.

My 9yo has just started catching the train home. So initially I met her at the station near school and jumped on the train with her, then when I saw she was confident with that she caught the train and I would meet her at the station. Then she would walk home from station and I would be at home. Now I have started full time work and she is letting herself in the house (her big brothers arrive 10mins later).

She has a mobile and calls when she has a problem.... missed the train, forgot train ticket, forgot house key etc. we have it all worked out.

#8 Coffeegirl

Posted 22 September 2019 - 10:03 AM

If the stop is a major transport hub, check to see if they run a specific school run/bus in the morning & afternoon.

DS takes a bus home in the avo.  It’s a specific ‘school’ run that picks up at his school, passes by another school and picks up more kids there and then drops them off.   While it is still a public bus and anyone can get on, its 99.9% school kids for those two times.

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