Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How do I get a frightened child to ride the bus?

Ms. Dorothy,
My 2nd grader is TERRIFIED of riding the bus. How can I make her comfortable with it? She is nervous about walking from her class to the bus, and she's worried that since she's so tired after school, she might fall asleep on the bus and miss her stop. Driving to and from school every day is making me crazy!  What are your thoughts?
- A Mom

It seems to me, that any time an 8 year old expresses such extreme fear, there is probably something more to look at. 

Taking her feelings seriously is a great way to ensure that she will continue to trust you with her honest emotions and fears as she grows into her teens. 

Walking from the class to the bus can be very chaotic (and seldom looks like walking!)

If your daughter is concerned about sleeping on the bus, she may be exhausted by the stress of her day, or of the bus ride itself.  It may be worth digging a little deeper to see if there is more going on than you are aware of.

Some children are nervous about missing the bus if they don't race, and others worry about the age range that ride the bus together.  

When we train children (by sending them to a school system that segregates by age) to believe that they can only think, work and make friends with children who were born in the same year, we inadvertently instill a misunderstanding of, and the potential for fear of, those who are older and younger.  

You could try to find an older neighbor that rides the bus and "hire" him or her to collect your daughter and walk with her to the bus, ride with her to their stop, and make sure she gets off.  If you  make it a "babysitting" job for a slightly older (but not yet old enough to officially babysit) child, you might even be able to "pay" in after-school snacks.

Another thing you might consider is continuing to drive until she feels she is ready for the bus.  As crazy as it makes you now, there will come a day that you miss those rides to and from school with her!

No comments:

Post a Comment