Random Rants

Readers Weigh In: At What Age is a Child Ready to Ride the School Bus?

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Although all parents would prefer to have their children in close contact at all times, the majority if parents in our country today have to work in order to support their families. This means that parents must entrust their children to licensed caregivers or family members to make ends meet, and often times this means that children either walk to and from school, or ride the bus in between being monitored by others.

Last year I took notice of a six year old little girl near our school that walked to and from school each and everyday, alone. Now let me say that as a mother of a six year old girl, I am more than not ok with this and wouldn’t personally allow my six year old to walk anywhere alone. Each and every time I would see her walking, I wanted to follow her just to make sure she made it home ok. I do realize that some parents are forced into a corner and may have little to no options, and I don’t want to judge here. However, I find it terrifying to think that at any moment someone could decide to take her and she would be far too small to defend herself. Did I also mention that we live in California? Not the friendliest state in the land.

Setting that debate aside for a moment, the bus is another option and one that may be a bit safer. Parents can drop their children off at the bus stop, along with other children, and often times parents are present until the bus arrives. With all of the fancy smancy bus tracking and student tracking devices that many of these companies and schools now use, it seems rather safe to allow children to use this form of transportation to and from school. In fact, many schools and companies now use devices that track vehicle maintenance schedules as an added measure of ensuring that children are safe.

I will admit that I am not yet ready to take this leap with my own children.

Now, I would like you to weigh in! At what age do you think it’s appropriate to allow children to walk to and from school, or ride the school bus? Does your child ride the school bus? What has been your experience thus far? ¬†Does the thought of allowing your children to go to and from school without you, terrify you?

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11 Comments

  • Reply Mami2jcn July 3, 2011 at 8:21 am

    When my son started kindergarten last fall, I started out driving him to school but after a week, I was really annoyed with the carpool line so I tried him out on the school bus. That only lasted about 3 weeks because he was bullied and was actually punched in the face by another child on the bus. Can you imagine? I was furious at the time and the older child who hit him didn’t even face repercussions. The bus driver can’t monitor the children while she drives. Needless to say, I drove him to school after that and will continue to drive him, even if the carpool line drives me crazy.

    • Reply Candace July 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

      That’s terrible! I always wonder where these children learn to hit others at such a young age. It makes no sense to me, and kindergarten or not, there should have been a parent conference. SO sorry for your little guy and thanks for weighing in!

  • Reply julie July 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

    My oldest is 8 and I can’t imagine letting him walk anywhere alone and we live in a quiet, country-like town. I’m thinking when he’s 10 he can walk places by himself, but only if its a short walk, lol! He rode the bus in Kindergarten and I felt ok about it. The buses in our state have a driver and a monitor who sits up front and gets off and on with each child, crossing them and all. They also have assigned areas on bus, younger kids in front and older towards the back. They don’t put up with any fooling around! I do now drive and pick up, only because my son would have a 45 min ride and I feel guilty about this since I’m home and don’t work. Plus, he’d have to wake up extra early to get bus in the morn and we just aren’t morning people, lol.

  • Reply Laurie July 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I think children can ride the bus from kindergarten on. As long as an adult picks then up and drops them off at the bus stop

  • Reply Heather July 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Statistically, neither the bus nor walking are any less safe than they were when I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s. If anything, they are safer! It’s just that, with the 24-hour news cycle, a much bigger deal is made of anything that does happen. I rode the bus from kindergarten on. And we did have some bus drivers that couldn’t manage to keep order—Mom had more than one conversation with the owner of the bus company over the years, and did help to get one guy fired. When I was 10, we moved where school was only 3 miles away, and we walked or rode our bikes pretty much whenever weather permitted till we were old enough to drive, as we didn’t like the 45 minute bus ride. Mom was home, but often didn’t have a car, and did have an at-home day care business, so much picking us up and dropping us off wasn’t feasible.

  • Reply Kari July 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    My 4 year old son started attending a pubic preschool last year. I was shocked to find out that my son was the only one in his class who didn’t ride the bus. It was a half-day class, so the bus ride to school was only 3-4 year olds, but those tiny preschoolers rode the same bus as all the other bigger elementary schoolers on the ride home. I’m not sure at what age I’ll start having him ride the bus, but it definitely wasn’t going to be 3, or 4. It won’t be at age 5 either. I’m not sure about age 6, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • Reply Rebecka July 4, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hello from the Sunday Strolling Blog Hop…I’m your newest follower and so happy you stopped by At Home with Rebecka to follow me as well.

    I’m a wee bit over protective when it comes to my children; I say better safe than sorry, therefore allowing my children to walk or stand at the bus alone is not something I’ve ever done.

    Thankfully, Even though I’ve always worked, I’ve managed to adjust my schedule to accommodate my children to the bus stop and or to school wherever possible. Just how I roll I suppose.
    Rebecka´s last blog post ..Sunday Strolling Blog Hop

  • Reply Samantha @ SamsCouponBase.com July 5, 2011 at 5:53 am

    My 3rd child started Kindergarten last year and she took the bus. My two older children (middle & high school) also took the bus BUT this was the 1st time since moving in our neighborhood that we had an elementary age child ride the bus to school. So I was a little nervous but my daughter was SO eager and there were several other little girls (her friends) that rode the bus too (and got on at the same stop). The bus driver has assigned seating and the littlest kids sit toward the front and works out nicely. I haven’t had any problems at all and she LOVES riding the bus. :)

    On another note, I always walk her to and from the bus stop. So do all the other parents (perhaps 3-4 sets). It’s nice to catch up and see how each other are doing too and plan out little play dates too. I feel much more connected to my neighbors having this little pow wow each morning.

  • Reply Maggie July 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I think back to when I was a child and I recall being fully capable of taking the bus by third grade, walking to and from the bus stop by myself, and letting myself into my house. I’ve not had to do this with my children as I just walk them to school because we live so close, but third grade is what I’d recommend.
    Maggie´s last blog post ..Living with Tinnitus

  • Reply SingleDad August 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I would love to know this answer. As a 40yr single dad I have an 8yr old daughter and work from 7-3:30. There are times I would love to leave her at home till the bus comes at 7:30 but I feel like a deadbeat dad If I ever would.

  • Reply keya February 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I have a soon to be 3yr old who will be starting headstart in the fall. Should I let him ride the bus or take him to school everyday? He has never been away from me and I am afraid that he will freak out having to get on the bus without me and be in school with strangers for 3 hrs a day, 5 days a week? What should I do?

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