Ah, the school bus. If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard people ranting about buses. It goes something like this: “Got stuck behind a bus this morning. It stopped at every other house. Kids today are so LAZY. When I was in school, I walked!”
And I get it, I do. Being stuck behind a bus is annoying. But here is why my son rides the bus a mere three blocks to school. (And yes, he is both picked up and dropped off at the end of our driveway. #sorrynotsorry)
1.) It fosters independence.
When he gets older, I will probably let him walk to school alone. Right now, at four, that would be ridiculous. But as he gets older, he needs to be able to do more and more things without me. Riding the bus is a safe, natural step towards independence. He is so proud of himself for riding the bus. It makes him feel like a BIG kid. Furthermore, it gives him a chance to show he can be responsible without mommy or his teacher breathing down his neck.
2.) It gives him time to interact with other kids.
Yes, of course he interacts with other kids at school. Many of those interactions, however, are fairly structured. Riding the bus gives him a chance at free conversation and the opportunity to talk to kids who are not in his class.
3.) It allows his sister to adhere to her regular afternoon nap schedule.
For whatever reason, my daughter’s nap time has been shifting. I don’t know why, and I certainly didn’t do anything to cause it, but my daughter is now as likely to wake up after pick-up time as before it. Instead of waking her and loading her into the car, I leave her peacefully sleeping as I sit on the front step to welcome my son home.
4.) Driving to school wasn’t adding anything to our family.
I have to admit, I felt guilty when we first signed up for the bus. I mean, I was (and still am) 100% capable of driving or walking my son to and from school every day. For awhile, I thought to myself, since I COULD do it, that must mean that I SHOULD. Wrong. Driving my son to school every morning usually ended with someone refusing to buckle their seatbelt, me getting frustrated, and my kids getting grumpy. Those minutes I gained with him in the car were nowhere near quality. Now, instead of screaming, “Come on, come ON, get in the car! Buckle up! We’re going to be late!”, I pour myself a cup of coffee, hold my son’s hand, and have a short conversation in the driveway. We’re all happier for it.
So next time you see a bus stopping too many times for your liking, remember: that bus might be more than just a mode of transportation to those students. It is to mine.