What to Do if Your Child Misses the School Bus on Purpose

If your child misses the bus, it's important to give him consequences.
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Kids are pretty good at getting out of things they don't want to do sometimes. If your child doesn't like school or riding the bus, missing the bus on purpose is one way to try and get out of doing it.

Unfortunately, many parents resolve the problem by driving their child to school after the bus has gone by. But, that will only reinforce to your child that missing the bus is a good option. Whether he wants to arrive at school late, or he simply doesn't want to sit on the bus, driving him to school will only reward him for missing the bus.

If your child dawdles until he misses the bus, take steps to get him ready on time faster. Reward him for making it on the bus on time, and give him consequences if he misses the bus.

Problem-Solve the Issue

Sit down with your child and engage him in problem-solving. Talk about what he doesn't like about riding the bus and going to school. Make sure he isn't skipping out on the bus because he's being teased by older kids or something of that nature. If he suggests there is a problem of this sort, work with him on finding solutions to resolve it.

Also, address the problem of how slow he is to get ready in the morning. Talk about whether or not he may need an earlier bedtime so he is better rested. Or discuss strategies that can help ensure he is ready on time, such as packing his backpack and having his clothes ready the night before.

Establish Negative Consequences

Make sure your child receives a negative consequence for missing the bus.

Finding what will work to deter your child from missing the school busy depends largely on your child's temperament. Perhaps removing a privilege, such as all electronics (TV, video games, computer, etc.) on the days he misses the bus would be effective. Find a privilege or activity that will bother him if it’s taken away and don't allow him to have it on the days he misses the bus.

Logical Consequences

Sometimes it makes sense to establish some logical consequences. For example, figure out how much money you are spending on gas to get him to school. Then, make him pay you for the cost of the gas that you are using to drive him to school. If he earns an allowance for doing chores, deduct this amount from his weekly allowance. It can be a great opportunity to teach kids about money as well.

If he doesn't earn an allowance, you can still have him pay you for the gas money. Set up chores for him to complete to pay off his debt. Don't allow him to play video games or do fun activities until the chores are complete and his debt is paid off.

Natural Consequences

There may also be an opportunity to allow for some natural consequences. Depending on how far the school is from your home, making your child walk to school may be an option. I've worked with parents who have followed their child to school in a vehicle for safety reasons while their child walked.


You can also try rewarding your son for getting ready on time and for making it onto the bus.

A simple reward system may motivate him to try and get ready faster in the morning. You could also try to use a token economy system where he earns tokens for getting ready by a certain time and for getting on the bus.

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