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How to Help Your Child Get Used to Riding His First School Service
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  • When your 4- to 6-year old begins going to school, you'll experience changes in your everyday routine. Preschool is your child's first exposure to the outside world, and it can be quite overwhelming for both your child and you. 

    If your child is going to school for the first time this school year, there are probably a few preparations you've already done, such as choosing the school he will go to. One of the other matters you'll need to settle is his transportation from the house to the school and vice versa. For many parents, one of the most practical options is to get the services of a school service or bus.

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    How to prepare your child for his first school service or bus ride

    There are many advantages to getting the services of a school bus, especially if you're a parent who has a nine-to-five job and can't bring your child to school yourself. But realize also that 8 or more preschool kids in a school bus for at least half an hour, with only the driver and another adult who assists them may be an unsettling situation for your child who is out of the home by himself for the first time (BUT, there's also a big chance he'll enjoy the freedom.)

    If you're a first-time preschooler mom, experts suggest starting with your preparations for a school service or bus early. Heed these tips:

    1. Plan ahead.

    Where and when do you begin in your search for a school bus? Your first stop could be the school where you're enrolling your child. Ask if they have accredited school buses, which would indicate that the bus company and their personnel have undergone scrutiny by the school. It would also signify that the institution trusts the company, and for a parent, that is reassuring. If there is no accredited school bus, ask your trusted friends or parents whose kids take the bus for recommendations. 


    As for the "when," now would be a good time, since it may take a while before you find one you'll approve or like. Doing this ahead of time will also allow you to compare prices, not to mention that school bus services plying your route might fill up early, leaving you no choice but to settle for a morning pick-up time that is either too early or too close to the time your child's class begins.

    Also, ask about the following: the maximum number of passengers that will ride the bus at any given time, and the driver's track record and punctuality. See how responsive the owner is with your concerns. These will all help you make an informed decision.

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    2. Tell your child what to expect   

    As this will all be unfamiliar to your child, it is advisable to give him time to process the changes. Prevent tantrums (they sometimes come out of fear) by letting him know what to expect. Once you've chosen a school bus service, ask the owner and/or bus driver to visit your house so you could introduce him to your child. Showing the little one the vehicle he will ride, and a "tour" inside may also get him excited about going to school, or at least clear up worries.

    If your child still seems apprehensive, ask about her concerns. "Often, children imagine unlikely scenarios or misunderstand facts," says Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a psychologist and a Parents advisor. "For instance, if your child says 'What if I don't get off at school and end up somewhere else?' you could say, 'You can't miss the school, because everyone on the bus stands up and walks off together. Also, the bus driver's number-one job is to get every child to school safely, so he'll check to make sure you do, too.'"

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    3. Expect surprises.

    Come school opening, trust that you have done enough to prepare your child for this big change. However, get a feel of how your child is adapting to it. It's easy for the kids to be at their worst behavior when they're all tired and hungry after school, with the traffic and the heat making it worse.

    If you sense that an offensive or hurtful behavior such as bullying might be happening during the ride, get the help of the school bus operator to nip it in the bud, while you also teach your child to stand up for himself.

    If there's exposure to foul language (which you can't really monitor) and your child has picked up a few words, have a talk, so he understands what is good and bad. "The important thing is not to overreact," says Dr. Kennedy-Moore. "When you show shock and horror, it just makes the ugly words seem more powerful."

    Lastly, take a deep breath and keep your fingers crossed that everything will be all right because, mom, this is just preschool — you still have a long way to go.

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