Got a case of cabin fever? That’s quite understandable in January. Being cooped up for so long has everyone feeling a little stir-crazy. However, if that’s how you are coping with an adult, imagine what it’s like for children! Long school days, combined with less time outside due to cold weather, can make any kid a little uppity.
It’s no wonder when they tend to get rowdier on the bus during the winter months. As a class B CDL holder, you keep as close of an eye on your children as possible, but due to the inherent nature of your job, children cannot be watched as closely as they would be, say, in the classroom. Alongside being confined in close quarters with classmates, this creates the perfect opportunity for children to “exercise their burgeoning independence—” in other words, to act out and push back against safety rules they used to follow without question. While this can mean a headache for you as a driver, it can also pose a serious safety hazard for not only the disobedient child but their peers, as well.
How can you make riding the bus a calm, safe, and enjoyable experience for everyone, while also keeping your eyes on the road? American Student Transportation Services, a school bus contractor, and provider of group transportation services has a few tips below.
Keeping Children in Line Requires Riding a Fine Line
We all knew that one authority figure we resented as a kid. They were excessively uptight while administering harsh punishment for even the slightest accidental rule infraction, but they were so obsessive over enforcing the rules that they became almost a laughingstock amongst your peers. However, we all also knew that one authority figure who was incredibly lax, looked the other way far too often, and allowed their kids to get away with countless things they probably shouldn’t have. While this figure was probably more well-liked than the first one we mentioned, they definitely didn’t do much in the name of enforcing boundaries and safety rules!
The talented school bus services employee must learn to ride a fine line between these two archetypes. They must set clear, consistent rules and consequences, but they also must learn to forgive the occasional accidental rule infraction, children are human, after all. They must clearly remain an authority figure, not a friend to their students, but also must work hard to foster a friendly, genuine, and open relationship with the children under their care.
Of course, all of this can be easier said than done sometimes. What should you, as an employee of a student transportation services company, do if the children on your bus refuse to behave despite your best efforts?
● Reach out | As in any field, you are bound to be surrounded by your colleagues, all of whom have different experiences working in school bus services than you do. Reach out to them and ask them for advice! Nobody should have to go at their job alone, regardless of their career path. This is especially true in student transportation services. As with any occupation, no matter how rewarding and fulfilling as the job can be, there are bound to be challenges that stump you. However, when those challenges involve the safety of children, it becomes even more important that the challenge is resolved. In short, if you are at a loss for solutions for handling disobedient children, consider reaching out to a coworker. Regardless of their experience level, you’ll probably learn a new approach or two, all while making a friend in the process.
● Enforce consistent consequences | As a general rule, children only misbehave if they think they can get away with it, or if they are unafraid of the consequences. Clear, consistent discipline is one way to go about enforcing the rules that keep everyone safe. The keyword here is consistent. In other words, if you write one child up for an infraction, you set the precedent that every single child who commits the same infraction will be treated likewise. Treating children unequally opens the door for misbehavior, as spottily enforced consequences are as good as no consequences. Moreover, children are people too, and like anyone else, they struggle to respect unfair authority. If your students have not been listening to you as of late, ask yourself if you have become lax or sporadic with your disciplinary practices. If so, work to bring them back to consistency.
● Assigned seating can be used as a last resort | Usually, it’s not the fact that children are sitting by their friends that creates problems; it's disrespect for the rules or inconsistent disciplinary habits on the part of the driver. However, if it’s one particular group of kids that tends to stir up trouble, making assigned seating mandatory for that bus can break the group up and restore normalcy. That being said, this often doesn’t fix the root cause of the misbehavior, so it’s best used as a last resort or in tandem with an overhauled disciplinary approach.
Looking for Top-Notch School Bus Services? Contact American Student Transportation Services of Blaine Today
As shown above, we know how to make the bus-riding experience a safe, enjoyable experience for all parties involved. To see what our company can do for your district, give our Blaine terminal a call now at 651-621-8900.