8 Year Old That Will Not Ride the Bus

Updated on September 02, 2008
J.P. asks from Rockland, ME
15 answers

Hey moms,
My eight year old son is starting the 3rd grade in less than a week. I have always driven him to school and picked him up. The problem is that I have a 6 1/2 month old that naps during the time when I would pick my son up from school. So...I've been trying to talk my son into at least taking the bus home but he wants no part in it. I try to sound positive and tell him that he would have a lot of fun and get to hang out with friends longer. I feel like it's a lot to ask to have another mom bring him home (even though we don't live far from the school) Has anybody else had this problem? If so, what did you do?
Thanks a bunch!

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answers from Barnstable on

Yes, I had that problem just different reasons. I put my son on the bus and just told him he had to. He was not happy at first but he was fine and ended up liking it. It might sound mean, but he'll be fine.

Good luck

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Sometimes, due to circumstances in our lives we have to do things we don't necessarily want to do. I see this as a teaching moment for you and your child, being willing to compromise is a skill all people should have. He is only eight and although I know you want to give him some choices this is one that needs some compromise. As a family, sit and talk with him about compromise and explain that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do and that is just one of life's consequences. Explain that with growing up, comes responsibility and independence. He is older and does not need to be driven to school, you have a baby at home that needs you and when he was a baby he needed you too. He is the big brother now and needs to "grow-up", in a sense. This will be the first in many milestones of his independence and you and he should feel good about it. Being in education for 10 years I see the culture changing, children are less and less willing to compromise because their parents don't make them do anything they do not want to do. So, take this opportunity to teach your child one of life's very important lessons, the skill to compromise. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

It probably has nothing to do with the bus itself. If you've told him that your reason for him taking the bus is because the baby will be sleeping, then he may feel slighted - like you're now putting the baby before him.

I have an eight year old and when it comes to situations like this, I don't ask her opinion or what she wants to do. I would just say "This year you'll be taking the bus home from school." There are certain things that can be negotiated with kids and other things that can't - if this is something that you really need to have happen, then you have to tell him how things are going to be. Maybe you can have a special snack or something ready for when he gets off the bus in the afternoon.



answers from Boston on

Hi J.,

I think the first problem is you made it optional. It would be best to tell him "this year you will be taking the bus home" "mommy will meet you at the bus stop"
If he is anxious, allow him some input into what would help him alleviate his fears; is there a older kid in the neighborhood he could buddy with initially?

Is he simply unsure of the process and afraid he will get on the wrong bus, or not know when to get off? If so assure him his teacher will insure he gets on the right bus and the bus driver will know where he should get off. He is probably familar with his neighborhood so if you take him to the bus stop before his first trip he will recognize when to get off. He probably has specific fears, see if you can get to the root of them so you can alleviate them. Best Wishes.

J. L.



answers from Boston on

He might get excited about the bus if one of his friends take the same one. My oldest loves getting on the bus w/ his school friends. Good luck.


answers from Boston on

You need to let him know that he is now a very responsible 8 year old and his job to help out with the baby right now is to take the bus.

Have yourself and your hubby sit down with him and explain that because of the baby he now has to take the bus and that since he is the big brother and you both need him to do this for all of you.

He maybe nervous of stories of the bus? maybe has heard kids are rude or there is someone he doesn't like who takes it? ask him his concerns and then what would be the positives..

Good Luck..



answers from Boston on

Please reread your headline. It's very important to think about the power you are extending your child by allowing him to decide this. And that's ok, if you have chosen to let him make the decision. We all have reasons for the way we approach things. But if you would like to settle this I have two suggestions. First, if you have decided it is a choice, then accept his decision, and drive him home. But if you are making the decision, you will need to tell him that you have decided that you are making the decison, that it will be fine for him. And do not pick him up or arrange for another Mom to. Best wishes, R.


answers from Boston on

I agree that he is old enough to learn to do this, and that giving him the choice basically gives him the decision-making power in the family. I think you can investigate what his issue is - has he heard stories of problems or bullying, is he concerned about getting off at the right place, is he afraid of an accident, is he unsure about which bus to get on, or is he afraid to admit he is nervous because other kids have been doing it for a while and he doesn't want to be an 8 year old newcomer asking for help like a kindergartener. All of those issues can be addressed by parents or possibly in conjunction with the school staff.

If it is an issue of wanting control over his mom or not giving in to the baby (the novelty of whom has worn off after 6 months!), then you parents need to take charge and make the decision for him. I do not think he will choose to remain at school rather than get on the bus to come home - they won't allow it anyway, but if he knows you aren't coming, he'll get on. If he doesn't want to get on the bus in the morning, you can tell him it doesn't make sense for a whole bunch of moms to drive to school every monring - either economically, envirionmentally, or in terms of your time, especially when it comes to bundling up the baby when the weather gets cold. It's time for him to be mature and have time with his neighbors and friends on the bus. If he still refuses, you can tell him that there is a legal requirement that he go to school, so you will happily pay a visit to the principal so he can explain why he doesn't think it is important for him to get up, get ready, and get on the bus. Most kids wouldn't dare dish out to teachers or administrators the nonsense or guilt they dish out to us parents. This is why I told my son when he didn't feel like getting ready in time - the principal was a lovely woman, so he wasn't afraid of her, but he knew it would NOT be acceptable to tell her he didn't feel like coming in. So he got ready and got out the door. The bus is provided for a reason, and the schools really don't want a whole bunch of cars driving in during prime bus time - it creates a traffic nuisance and a safety hazard. Make the decision and tell him it is non-negotiable.



answers from Burlington on

Maybe find out why he doesn't want to ride the bus and offer incentives for each day he does. (When I was 9 my bus was in an accident and I was terrified to get back on for the rest of that year b/c I knew our driver didn't know how to drive... a different driver or different bus didn't bother me, just the one I was supposed to ride home!) Maybe he's heard disturbing stories from his peers or maybe he's frightened by the concept? Does he have friends on the route that he enjoys seeing? Getting one of them lined up to get him interested in riding the bus could help.

If he can be convinced to ride the bus a chart with stickers showing how many time he's riden or a "fuzzy jar" could do the trick. If he rides for an entire week perhaps he could have something special?

It could also be that he needs this time to feel like he still has your attention since there is a new baby around. Perhaps finding other ways he could have your undivided attention and his own special time with Mom would help. It is very likely that he just really enjoys the time he gets with you on the ride to and from school.

Hope that helps!



answers from Boston on

My oldest is entering 3rd grade also!!! I do drive him. When he started 1st grade, I had a new born, then 2nd grade she was 1, now she is 2 as he enters 3rd grade. I have always drove him to school and picked him up. Some days it did pose a problem with her schedule. Sometimes I would have to opt for a nap in the car for her. Eventually once she turned 1 I had her on the schedule of lunch at 11:15am, nap by 12noon to 1:30, then I would get her up and off to get him at school. It all worked out. But on the other hand on those cold snowy winter days, it was a pain in the rear to have to take a little baby out just to drive to school for a pick up. But I continue to do it.

I'm sure he will get use to the bus once he starts it. Yet on the other hand if you are still going to drive him in the am, perhaps see if you could get with another mom to swap off, that you drive in the am and she picks up in the pm? Good Luck



answers from Boston on

I agree with the other posters, but for now perhaps a nice alternative is for him to ride his bike to school, or walk. I don't know if you are on busy roads, but elementary schools tend to be pretty close to home (although I'm not sure how close in Maine), so as long as he has a bike helmet or good walking shoes, he should be good to go. You can give him that choice too - bike, walk, bus.



answers from New London on

Simple solution, Although one a lot of moms might not agree with: BRIBE HIM WITH A PRESENT.



answers from Boston on

I have a 3rd grader too (and a 7th and 9th!!). As long as you present the bus ride as an "option", your little guy will continue to fight this one with you. He has never ridden the bus home so #1: has no idea what to expect and #2 thinks if he protests long enough you'll give in.
The real problem is the eight year old thinking he has a private car service. He doesn't have get on the bus with excitement, he just has to get on the bus. Sure, it would make everyone feel better if he did it with joy, but just like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, eating broccoli, and
taking in the garbage pails each week, there are some things kids JUST DO BECAUSE THEY HAVE TOO.
You've already paid for the bus (your tax dollars) and if you drive you're expending 2x as much gas (your car and the bus that is supposed to be driving your child).
Sometimes as a parent you just tell the kids how things are going to play out and that's the final word, do it kindly, do it firmly. It's not a popularity contest.
My kids get picked up from school only when the bus won't get them home in time to get to an after school activity (like music or tennis lessons). I told them gas is expensive and keeping my car off the road when possible is keeping our town's air just a little bit cleaner.
You can do it!!!



answers from Hartford on

What about getting him into a recreational after school program? I did that becuase my son was having problems on the bus (too many older kids and bad influences and a lack of supervision and structure). This gave me some extrta time for my daughter to finish her nap and wake up before having to rush out and pick up her brother. It is always nice to consider a child's feelings and try to comprimise a little. But if it is not an option maybe the first couple of times you could get a sitter and ride the bus with your child so they are not afraid. It is scary and most kids are afriad they will be left behind or the bus driver will forget to drop them off.



answers from Boston on

Transition can be tough on them, but they get thru it. Did you ASK him if wanted to ride the bus? An approach to this would be to sit him down & simply tell him (dont ask, you dont need his permission)that with your schedule being hectic, you're not able to pick him up from school & that he will be taking the bus home. The faculty & staff at the school can help him out & make sure he gets on the right bus. After a few times he'll get it. He'll be fine, i believe in making them 'just do it'. Then they see how bad its not. Theres always anxiety over something. Just dont make a big deal about it, he'll do fine, he just doesnt know it yet. :)

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