How to Overcome Common School Bus Fears in Anxious Students
Riding the bus could be the worst part of your student's school day. Trapped with older kids on a crowded bus, some students may experience anxiety. Fortunately, it can get better (without you having to drive them).
Here are some tips for helping your young student overcome his/her bus struggles and become comfortable getting to and from school.
Dig Deeper Into Their Fears
If your student is scared about getting on the bus, further investigation might be warranted. Are they afraid because a bigger kid taunts them or steals their snack? Or do they get sick when they end up with a seat in the back? There might be a few interventions you can make as a parent that relieve the source of the discomfort. Or, you can give your student specific strategies for dealing with their fear.
Do a Few Dry Runs
If your child has a general fear of the bus before the new school year, it may be a general fear of the unknown. Particularly if they are about to start a new school. Do a few dry runs of the bus route in your own car. Once your child knows which milestones along the route mark their approach to school, they might feel more comfortable riding the bus on the same trip. Talk about things like how to get on the bus, and when to know to get off; these things provide a greater sense of control.
Plan Bus Activities
Finally, a few distractions can go a long way. For example, your child could stay busy by writing in a journal on the way to school (assuming that doesn’t make them carsick). Have them write a story or put their feelings to paper. Other good bus activities include crossword puzzles, reading, and coloring. Talk to the bus driver about why it's important for your child to have access to these activities en route. Before they know it, your student will be pulling up in front of the school, safe and sound.
Getting to school can be the worst part of the back to school season, but managing fears is possible. Keep communication open and clue in bus drivers and teachers so they can help when needed.
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