29 answers

Should Kids Take the Bus?

My kids will both attend a close, 5 minute away school (2 different ones). One is in preschool (at one school), the other in K (at another school). Same time so I cannot be in two places at once. I could have one go morning and one afternoon, and drive each to and from school like many of the good parents I know. :) But I want the kids both in the morning. Who wants to spend all day driving to and from schools?

Would you let your kids take the bus? Keep in mind I have a toddler and baby at home, too, and Michigan weather is awful at times. Why should I feel I should take on more than I feel I can handle by driving them (and 4 car seats every single time), when the bus is free and available?

The preschooler goes on a preschool only bus that comes to the house. The Kindergarten student (stop is right by our house at corner) rides with grades K-6 in the morning (I'm not a fan of that), but only grade K to come home.

I really feel it would be too hard for me to drive them, but I took a bus as a kid and it's nothing I want for my child due to the cruelty, vulgarity, etc., but still...
HELP!

What can I do next?

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My kindergartner's FAVORITE part of the entire day was riding the bus. It's one of only 2 things he misses now that we homeschool. (The other is lunch).

I think it really depends on the child AND the bus.

I moved a maximum of every 2 years growing up, and was on a lot of different busses with a lot of different schools. Some were GREAT. Others were, as you said full of cruelty/ vulgarity/ etc.

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Yes, take the bus. My only concern would be the kindergartner in the morning with K-6, although my kids rode with K-5. They do learn some new words, but for the most part they tend to sit with kids their own age. IMO riding the bus is just a part of growing up, learning to deal with new experiences, etc. At one point when my son went through a phase where he was afraid of the bus (long story), one of his teachers actually advised me to NOT drive him. It all worked out.

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I vote for letting them both take the bus. I go to a charter school with no bus available, but for my niece and nephew riding the bus to school is the biggest fun of their whole day. When my SIL is volunteering at the school and can drive them straight home, they still want to take the bus and she just drives home behind it on those days.

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School bus, not public bus, right? Of course I would let them. I think that interacting with other kids at the bus stop and negotiating a bus 'on their own' is something kids learn from. And mostly enjoy. Your kindergartener will have recess with older age kids anyway so you will have to get used to them interacting anyway.

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My kindergartner's FAVORITE part of the entire day was riding the bus. It's one of only 2 things he misses now that we homeschool. (The other is lunch).

I think it really depends on the child AND the bus.

I moved a maximum of every 2 years growing up, and was on a lot of different busses with a lot of different schools. Some were GREAT. Others were, as you said full of cruelty/ vulgarity/ etc.

2 moms found this helpful

Since we don't have the option of riding buses in town we just take the kid that is actually enrolled in the elementary school system to school and she eats breakfast there so she can enter the building 15 minutes before school starts to go and eat. She often is hard to get to school early so she gets an Oatmeal bar and milk or juice in the van on the way and gets there right at 8.

The other child is in preschool and is not an actual enrolled child in the elementary school system so absences and tardy's don't really count against them. When the older child gets to school at 8 then the other child gets to pre-school about 8:15 and goes right in and eats breakfast with his friends.

If we had the option of a school bus we would let the pre-school child ride and not the older one. The little bus is only kids that are small and there is at least one teacher on at all times. They know the families and will not let the child go to anyone not known, they are only in town and not out driving around all over the county. The bus drivers are never left alone with the little kids and I feel that would be the safer situation.

With your situation I would ask around the K class to see if anyone in my area is driving and offer to give them gas money to do a kid pool (car pool for kids). You might even find another mom in the same situation as you and you can trade off so you can each stay home for at least a week at a time. Otherwise, for the safety of your other little ones I might say put both on their buses and hope for the best.

Next year hopefully both kids will be at the same school and you'll be able to take both at the same time.

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Buuuuuuuu-uuuuuuuuuus. LOL! I lived on a military base in a foreign country when I started K. Yep, I was a bus kid. Like other moms have said, your DD will sit with kids her own age and wont pay much attention to the older kids. If you're worried about cruelty, vulgarity, etc maybe you could talk to the school bus driver. My driver when I got in middle school/high school seperated the age groups. Middle school had to sit in the first half of the bus and HS sat in the back. Assigned seats. The whole bit. Maybe this driver operates the same. :)

As for standing in the cold, just bundle up & don't take her out until the last minute (maybe when you see the bus turn down the street or pass by on a parallell street).

There's my thoughts.... Good luck whatever you decide.

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I'm amazed at all the people that are against the bus. Maybe it depends where you live? For me the convenience was huge for the reasons you mentioned. Also, think of the environmental impact of all of those cars vs. one bus. Even thought it's not far away, you will also be spending a lot more on gas and putting miles on your car. Obviously you don't want to put your children's safety at risk, but many studies have shown that it is safer to ride on the school bus than to drive yourself. I would check with other families who have been riding the bus in your neighborhood to get the real details for your specific bus as far as the behavior of the kids (talk to as many as you can). Even if you're not sure one way or the other you can always try it out and change your mind later if it's not working out for you.

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The preschool bus is a no brainer it picks up at your house and only other preschoolers will be on it. I'd introduce it as a new experience with going to school and leave it at that. And yes I would let the kindergartner go too. They generally separate the younger ones from the older ones talk to the school to find out how it's handled.

Updated

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, take the bus. My only concern would be the kindergartner in the morning with K-6, although my kids rode with K-5. They do learn some new words, but for the most part they tend to sit with kids their own age. IMO riding the bus is just a part of growing up, learning to deal with new experiences, etc. At one point when my son went through a phase where he was afraid of the bus (long story), one of his teachers actually advised me to NOT drive him. It all worked out.

1 mom found this helpful

I say let them ride the bus. The peschool bus you seem to have almost talked yourself into. As for the Kindergartener riding with 6th graders I wouldn't worry too much. I know several bus drivers from different districts and they all say the kindergarteners ride in the front of the bus so that the drivers can keep a better eye on the little ones, they also aren't allowed off the bus unless a parent is at the bus stop (some will look a house or two away to make sure you are there but the rule is AT the bus stop) I have a kindergartener and a 4th grader that ride the same bus and my kindergartener isn't allowed to sit with his sister, he has to sit in the first 2 seats behind the driver. My kids really enjoy riding the bus. sooooo I say let them ride the busses until they say they are uncomfortable doing so.

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I think I would drive them especially b/c of the weather, I'd be so sad to see them all cold in the bus stop.

I'm fairly certain you can drop the kindergartner off 30 mins early so you can make it to the preschool as well, or maybe find another mom where you can take turns.

Let them take the bus - they will sit with kids their own age and the buses all have cameras to catch any bad behavior. The bus is a service provided to ease congestion and help avoid accidents at school - use it - you pay for it in taxes and it will give you an extra 15 mins each day to get something else done.... Surely you trust your kids to behave and to respond appropriately to others if they are not doing what they should? Our school had an assembly on correct bus behavior so everyone knows what to expect which also helped.
the fact that the stop is right by your house makes it a no brainer for me...

Personally, I don't want my daughter riding the bus. She will start Kindergarten this August & I will drive her in the morning & pick her up in the afternoon - thankfully I have a job that will let me do this & work at home in the afternoons.

No seatbelts is a big issue for me because of accidents in my area in the last few years. Plus, I am keeping my daughter in a 5-point harness as long as possible - she's not quite 40lbs and can be in her 5-point harness until 65lbs. I also don't want her riding with much older kids.

My mom drove my sister, brother & I to & from school every day. We lived outside the city limits but she drove us to the city schools 15 miles away. She always had to go to 2 schools, sometimes 3. I am glad I did not have to ride the bus.

If the preschool bus has harnesses, I would be more willing to do that. My daughter's daycare/Pre K goes on field trips & they use a bus with harnesses. Would it be possible to use the preschool bus, but drive your Kindergartener to school?

NO WAY! I'd see if I could drop one off earlier. The bus would NEVER be an option for me, but especially not for preschool or Kindergarten!!!!!

In our district we are encouraged to not drive our children in icy/snowy weather and let the kids be on the bus. Less traffic on the roads.
Also our bus has seating charts, even in HS. So teh kindergartner will be in front with kids his own age.

I am a bus driver also. I have K-5. My little ones sit in the very front, then 1st and so on. The older ones are in the back. My K's get off first so that they are not knocked over by the bigger kids. As for vulgar language I do not tolerate it. I wouldn't worry too much. See if you can meet the driver and get a feel for them. If it's only 5 minutes away they wouldn't be on very long anyway. If they are the last to be picked up then they will be first to get off. I would let them go on the bus. It would be good for them. You can also tell the driver and have a note stating so that you want your child to wear the seatbelt. I am a driver in NY state and they do not require them to wear the belts. I can't even make them wear it but a parent can give permission. Sandra is absolutly correct when saying a bus is totally safe. I feel much more safer in the bus then I do in a car. And I totally agree with her about the belts and trying to get them all out. So I wouldn't worry about them riding the bus at all.

Yes, put them on the bus. They'll be fine. Instruct your kindergartener to sit up front by the driver. Driving your kids to school doesn't make you a better parent, and driving yourself nuts doing it would be even worse for you and your family.
Send them on the bus, they'll love it.

My children will never ride a school bus (except to go on an occasional field trip). I get up with my 17 month year old every morning knowing her day is starting earlier than it would, but I just can't have my 11 and 7 year old go to school without me knowing they arrived safely.

Is it a pain? Do I look forward to summer and days off, you bet! But it bugs me that tax payers are paying for a service when I am able. (I totally think that if you can't get a child to school, a bus should be available; but I own a car and I have the financial ability to keep it in working condition).

But this is me. You have to decide what you can live with. Besides the other children exposing them to inappropriate behavior and language, I am more worried about the bus driver getting in an accident if I have to be truthful in what I find frightening about buses.

My grandson, who is a special needs child, rode the bus at those ages. The bus did have 3 point harness seat belts. He's now in the second grade and the bus still has seat belts. When he was in preschool and kindergarten, his mother took him onto the bus and fastened him in. There was never a problem. The bus drivers were all experienced and caring people who looked after the children well. If I were you I'd try it out and see if it'll work for you and your children.

I had the same issues with the bus when my kids were younger. I decided to take my kids to school when they were in preschool. At the time, the morning bus was preschool - 4th grade. The way home was preschool and kindergarten only so they rode the bus home. I think if I were you, I would let them take the bus. Main reason being taking the other 2 out every time. That is just too much work. Guess what. We all took the bus when we were younger and we turned out just fine. There probably will be issues at some point, but you will deal with it then. The only other solution I can think of is if there is another parent in one of the kids classes that feels the same as you and you could car pool so you wouldn't have to do it everyday.

are there sidewalks? Are they responsible? Perhaps if they're responsible and stay together they could walk to school if it's only a few minutes away.

I have been a school bus driver for over seven years where I live and I would and have put my children on the bus. With that said I would try and meet the bus driver before hand and express any concerns you have with him or her. You would be surprised at how much that will ease your mind. Most district that bus pre-k students do so on a separate bus, also if they are younger than 5 the bus should have harnesses for the children. Just like car seats. On my bus I seat students by grade level starting with the smallest up front. As for the safety factor a bus is safer than a car for many reasons they are higher off the ground so it would take a train or semi to flip it. There are steel cross beams every 3 feet on the under carriage so it will not crush like a car or truck. As for seat belts with all the other things that make a bus safe a seatbelt would only endanger the children if god forbid there was an accident, imagine up to 77 children stuck in their seats by a belt and only 1 driver trying to get them all off. Then once each child is off the bus who would watch them on the side of the road while that driver is getting the rest free? No there are reasons why buses don't have seat belts and it is not to save money. For those of you who don't believe me look into it, talk to a bus driver or your state department of transportation you will be surprised at how safe a bus really is.

Not all buses are created equal. It completely depends on the mix of kids you get on. For example-my kids have never ever had a problem on the bus. However, there are 2 buses in my neighborhood-same school-and the other bus has all kinds of problems. We are just lucky I suppose. So you should at least give it a try. Maybe ask around your neighborhood and see how the K-6 bus is. Maybe even recruit an older girl to watch out for your child-girls love to be maternal. I wouldn't worry about the preschool bus as much.

I took a bus to school but not that young! I can't imagine a preschooler on a bus... I wouldn't be worried about safety versus making them into a teenager already bc it's more convenient. If you decided to have 4 kids, you must have known it'd be tough and inconvenient at times. I also wouldn't let a kindergartner take a bus because I think that's too young too to be pushed out the door like that versus escorted to their classroom. I don't see why your preschooler can't be late. It's only preschool and you're likely not the only mom in this situation. So take your K and then drop off your preschooler afterwards.

I would plan on them riding the bus. Maybe when the weather is nice you can take them once in a while as a treat.

I vote for letting them both take the bus. I go to a charter school with no bus available, but for my niece and nephew riding the bus to school is the biggest fun of their whole day. When my SIL is volunteering at the school and can drive them straight home, they still want to take the bus and she just drives home behind it on those days.

Preschool busses are equipped to handle preschoolers and are driven by a person with a chauffer's license. I had all my four children take a regular school bus beginning in kindergarten. Kindergarteners usually are first in the line and sit up front on the bus. There were never any issues with taking the bus. I could see the bus stop from my house and knew the kids were safe and when they were actually picked up. I would utilize the bussing system, especially if it is free. I, too, were in your situtation and welcomed the use of the busses.

Wow, I really think it depends on the system. Is their supervision on the bus? I totally hear you about the driving and car seats and P.I.A. But, I would be afraid of having my 5 year old on a bus with 12 year olds... Right now my son is in full day K, and my 3 year old goes to AM pre K 2 days a week and I have a 2 year old. Those 2 days when they are both in school I feel like I should just not get my youngest out of the car... But, I do have 2 1/2 hours of almost sanity 2 days a week so I do the driving!

Has there been incidents on either bus? I would feel uncomfortable if my child was in K and had 6th on the same bus. My oldest is 5th this the first yr he is able to the bus. His prevoius school we were about a block away. My son school is just 5th 6th graders. He came shocked many times by how crass the kids spoke on the bus. Thank goodness my oldest has enough common sense just to talk about with me or my husband and his younger siblings.

We're talking 'school' buses, right? If so, then why even question it! I *wish* I could put my daughter on the bus for school this fall!! But no, I have to pack her and my younger two up and drive or walk to and from school. They'll be fine :o)

The thing I don't get about school buses is why they are not required to be as safe as our cars. I mean I have to put my 4 or 5 year old in a car/booster seat but if I let him ride the bus he won't even be in a seat belt? My son is only 3.5 now, but he will definitely not ride the bus. I rode it all my schooling until myself and friends were driving age. I never had any social probs, but it was very unsafe, looking back. I went on out of town trips etc, on major freeways, all not constrained by a seat belt. Crazy!! I don't want to spend the first 4 to five years of my child's life carefully harnessing or buckling him in only to throw him into a huge vehicle without any kind of seat belt. Now if you are lucky enough to have a bus that has belts, then maybe it could be ok. Good luck, tough call I know!

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