Thursday, January 17, 2013

The bus alarm

"It's time to put your shoes on, buddy."

"Did the bus alarm ring?"

"Yep. It's time for school."

"Ok."

That's how easy our school mornings are.

Born of frustration trying to convince a five year old that he had to put his shoes on right now so as not to miss the school bus, the bus alarm is one of my best ideas.

Way back when we had some trouble getting the boys to go to bed at night, we started setting the timer on the stove. When it beeped, they knew it was time to put pajamas on and get in bed. It worked for a couple of reasons: 1) it was a very clear signal that they could listen for, 2) it was impartial - we weren't the bad guys saying go to bed, it was just bedtime, and 3) it was very consistent - rather like Pavlov's dogs. Now that they are trained to go to bed at bedtime, we no longer need the timer.

"Do you like the bus alarm?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"It helps me know when school is coming."

When Wil dawdled, trying to play for a few more minutes in the morning, we decided to implement the bus alarm. I have an alarm set on my phone for 10 minutes before the bus comes. We settled on 10 minutes because it gives plenty of time to get shoes and coats on plus grab any last minute items (like library books) that we may have forgotten to collect beforehand.

We tend to get to the bus stop a few minutes before it's due, but that has served us well the few times the bus has been early. Usually it runs late or right on time. The relaxed walk to the stop and time waiting for the bus help put Wil in a school frame of mind.

"Mommy, is today a school day?"

"Yes it is. You need to get dressed as soon as you're done with breakfast."

"I want to play."

"You can play after you get dressed."

"Until the bus alarm."

"Yes, until the bus alarm."

It has helped me too. I don't have to constantly watch the clock. I even set an alarm for myself in the afternoon to remind me when to go to the bus stop. (Yes, our driver won't let the kids off the bus if a parent isn't there. That's another issue.) Removing the pressure and stress from our mornings has helped immensely.

1 comment:

  1. When I leave to take Vincent to school on Wednesdays, I see one of our neighbor girls at the bus stop. There used to be a lot of kids there with her, but the last few weeks, it's just been her. I wonder if it's a rule specific to each school about whether or not a child can be alone at the bus stop, or if it's a rule made up by each bus driver?

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