One of the first milestones toward independence many children reach is the ability to travel around their neighborhood by themselves. When they’re younger, this means walking to the corner store or biking to their friend’s house. As they get older and more mature—especially for kids who live in or near the city—it means riding public transportation on their own.
If your child is finally ready to take that next step, use these tips to teach them how to use public transit safely and confidently!
1) Practice with them first.
Public transportation systems can be tricky when you’re navigating them for the first time by yourself. Ease your child into the process by going along with them and showing them how to do it.
Take a few trips to familiar places (school, a friend’s house, the library) and go over how to read maps and schedules, use metro cards or bus tickets, and get them used to the other aspects of using public transit. Once they’re comfortable, let them lead the way with you so they feel confident when they do it on their own.
2) Find them a travel buddy.
Whenever possible, arrange for your child to ride public transportation with a friend, neighbor, or fellow student. Traveling with a buddy or in a group will make them less vulnerable and more comfortable as they learn. Plus, you’ll have the added peace of mind of knowing they’re not out in the city alone.
3) Establish backup plans.
Most public transportation is perfectly safe for children to use by themselves, but there’s always a possibility that they’ll encounter something unexpected. You and your child will feel more confident and secure with them riding alone if they’re prepared for an emergency or unplanned issue.
Go over possible situations that could come up on public transit—a broken down bus, route change, an uncomfortable situation with a stranger, etc.—and how they’ll handle each one. Agree on an alternate spot to meet if something goes wrong on route, a safety plan if they’re approached by a stranger, and make sure they have a means of contacting you if they’re lost or unsure of something.
At Northwest Bus Sales, we provide new and used buses that parents and their children can feel good about. All of our vehicles are safe and in top working condition, so passengers can feel assured that they’re in the best hands possible.
Contact us today about adding one of our premier buses to your public transportation fleet!