Do you have a child that will be in Elementary school this year? Or a Special Needs child in any grade? A child with medical needs who will be in school?
Can your child easily recite your phone number to you? Or explain what they need medically? Probably so. But that is when they are communicating with the most trusted person in their life. YOU! What would happen if they were afraid? Lost? Sick? Could they tell someone how to contact you quickly? Can they remember their bus number from Day 1 of school? What happens if they accidentally are put on the wrong bus at school? That happens every year where I live. Most kids are funneled to the correct place but there are a few that somehow are misdirected. Scary stuff!
Think it won’t happen to your kids? It happened to mine with me standing right there last year. Let me explain. We were on our bus stop corner waiting patiently for the bus for my then 1st grader. We knew what the bus number was supposed to be but a bus pulled up with a different number and stopped. The other Mom standing there and I questioned her because the bus number wasn’t what we expected. She told us that it was a new bus and not to worry. I asked her if she was going to XYZ school and she assured us that yes she was. So we put our kids on that bus and watched it drive away. A few seconds later the correct bus pulls up. We were STUNNED! I jumped in my van and raced off to chase down the bus that had the kids on it. Luckily we live in a really large neighborhood with lots of kids so I knew she would have many stops to make. I found her rather quickly and retrieved my son and the little girl who had boarded with him. I also gave that bus driver an earful. I got the two on the correct bus and all was well in the world. But what if I wasn’t there and this happened at school rather than at home? Would my 1st grader have known not to get of f the bus at a random stop?
Are you thinking that of course he would have stayed on the bus and then the driver would contact me? Maybe, but maybe not.
Two years ago my husband was on his way home from work and saw a little girl walking down the middle of a very busy street in our neighborhood crying. He directed her to the side of the road and came home to get me as our house is on a tiny street off that road. I immediately went out to get her and find out what was wrong. Guess what? She was let off at the wrong bus stop and had no idea how to get to her house or how to contact her parents. NONE. I walked her to our front porch and my hubby brought the boys outside to chat with her while I searched her backpack for information and calmly quizzed her for information. Eventually I learned her name and the bus number she was on. I called the bus compound and told them what had happened and that I had her. I let them know I was about to call the police because I had no idea how to get her home. They looked her name up and told me her address (not sure that was smart of them but they did) and I drove her home. On the way to her house (which was a few streets away) she looked out the window and pointed out her Grandma who was looking around desperately while standing on a corner. I stopped and let her out with her Grandma who had been waiting at the correct bus stop for the little girl and was getting quite worried about her. Chatting with Grandma I learned that she was in second grade and the she knew her Mom and her Grandma’s cell phone numbers. She may have but not when she was scared and lost.
I have two boys heading out to Elementary school in the coming days. One will be in 1st Grade and one in 2nd Grade. This year I am back to work and won’t be standing there at the bus stop guarding them. They will be in a before and after school program and ride the bus to it from their school.
I will be tucking our free Back to School Printable in their backpacks just in case. This printable allows you to feel confident that someone can contact you if needed. For older kids it gives them the knowledge that might be lost when they are afraid. Peace of mind for Mom!
Contact Robyn at Robyn@theneighborhoodmoms.com