Once in a while, I do crazy things, like attempting to vlog. I know, it makes no sense to me either.
Really, some people just don’t belong in front of a camera. Like me. Aside from my raging awkwardness, complete with multiple “ums”, excessive hand gestures and inexplicable eye closing, technology is not something with which I should ever be acquainted. As in, if it involves electricity or has a button, it would be best operated by anyone else in the world other than me.
For definitive proof of this ineptitude and for a wonderful laugh, see this short video. You’re welcome.
Regardless of my hopelessness, I recently recorded a clip for VProud.tv (have you hung out on this site at all? You really should, it’s full of information and realness to help you sort through the issues we grapple with in our day-to-days). In my video, I explored an issue that is near and dear to my heart: should my 6 yr. old son be riding the school bus?
The thing was, I assumed my quandry over this question was symptomatic of my first-time mom-ness and unique to my general uncertainity about how to exist in this world. However, after sharing this video on my social channels, I was blown away to learn what a hot button topic this is for so very many moms. The comments on both my personal and blog Facebook pages were eye-opening.
Aside from my nervous fussing over putting my oh-so-little guy on the bus with scary older kids and concern about my son’s day at school already being so long without adding in bus rides, my readers presented other very solid considerations that have influenced their decisions regarding the school bus. Scheduling conflicts, safety issues, limitations of the bus driver, discipline, and the perspective of walkers were all factored in when sorting out how their children would get to and from school.
My VProud.tv video is below. It isn’t long, but to summarize if you don’t get to the whole clip: we live close enough to the school that it is easy enough (and sometimes far more convenient, especially in winter temps) for me to drive my son to school. He occasionally complains that the additional time on the bus tires him out and that it’s hard to find a seat because the bus is overcrowded (it most definitely is), but we continue to put him on the bus because as we believe it’s an important stretch of his introverted personality to be stretched in this social situation. My husband is more convicted of this than I am; I believe I am influenced strongly by my own experience of not enjoying the bus ride as a child. I firmly acknowledge that even being able to debate the situation is a luxury of the fact that I work from home, which allows me tremendous flexibility.
So this is the situation, the issue, in full. Obviously, I am still somewhat unsure of what the best course of action is for us and am very welcoming of any and all input you have regarding this issue. Tell me your thoughts!
That said, I’ve spent a considerable chunk of time evaluating The School Bus Dilemma recently and have settled on these points to help me sort through the concern:
- If you are not able to drive your child to school, they will be okay. This is why the bus system exists: to transport your child to school for you. Know that for as many reasons as there are to avoid the bus, there are as many reasons to use it. As you do with so many things in your child’s life, you will work with your child to successfully navigate through the situation. They will be fine.
- If you are seeing no negative results, your child is probably fine. If your child isn’t picking up bad habits or reporting nasty treatment from other students, he is most likely, simply riding the bus. This is possible, and this is okay.
- If your child is suffering negatively, consider whether it’s worth helping him process the negativity in a positive way; it may or may not be. Picking up bad language from his fellow riders? Can you use this as a teaching moment and talk to him about making good choices despite what his peers are doing? However, if the situation is too grim, and you are able to avoid the bus, go for it. You are the parent and know what works for you and your child.
- If there are real safety concerns with your child riding the bus, avoid it. One reader talked about her 4 yr. old child moving around too much to be considered safe sans a restricted seatbelt that buses lack. If you are genuinely worried about your child’s safety on the bus, for whatever reason, don’t put him on it.
- If the bus ride is excessively long, or your child has other concerns which make the added time on the bus ride challenging, the bus might not be a good fit. This is where I stumble. My son does have significant attention and overstimulation issues; I remain unconvinced that time on a crowded bus at the beginning and end of his day doesn’t compound his struggles.
- If your child enjoys riding the bus, embrace it. Unless there are some significant detrimental effects, see it as a win and encourage his pursuit of this social growth environment.
In short, unless there are sound reasons to keep your child off the bus and your schedule does permit driving your child to school, it may be the smartest move to put him on the bus. I think children generally do well when exposed to a variety of social situations, including those with which they are uncomfortable. We all grow and expand our horizons when we are pushed–in a healthy way.
And this is the trick of it: if it’s not a healthy circumstance, for whatever reason, regrouping may be in order. This is where that gorgeous, muddled ground of parental discretion comes into play. This is why we endlessly lose sleep over these issues that seem small to those outside of our parenting world. Figuring out what is best for our children is complicated. It’s so hard to know what is best.
Especially as that yellow bus comes barrelling up the road. Godspeed, parents. Wherever you fall on this issue, I can truly say, I’m with you.
Check out this VProud.tv discussion about another weighty parenting issue that becomes prevalent with school-age children: is sleeping over at friend’s house a good idea for your kids?