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

Don't let your child miss the school bus every day on purpose.
Stephen Simpson / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Kids are pretty good at avoiding things they don't want to do. If your child doesn't like school, he hates riding the bus, missing the bus on purpose can be a good ploy.

Unfortunately, many parents resolve the problem by driving their child to school after the bus has gone by. But, giving him a free ride will only teach your child that missing the bus is a good option.

Whether he wants to arrive at school late, or he doesn't want to get ready on time, becoming his chauffeur may reward him for missing the bus.

It's important to give him consequences that will motivate him to get on the bus next time.

Problem-Solve the Issue

Before you hand out consequences though, it's important to find out why your child is avoiding the school bus. Sit down with your child talk about what he doesn't like about riding the bus or why he's not happy about going to school.

Make sure he's not being bullied on the bus or getting picked on when he arrives at school. If he's scared of the other kids or he's become a target, work with the school on resolving the issue. 

If he simply doesn't want to get ready in the morning, problem-solve how you might help him get ready faster. If he struggles to wake up in the morning, establish an earlier bedtime.

If he dawdles, a timer may motivate him to get dressed or eat breakfast on time. 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. Remove a privilege, such as all electronics (TV, video games, computer, etc.) on the days he misses the bus.

Make your child responsible to pay you for your time and gas money if you 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.

Make Him Walk

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.

If your child is too young to walk by himself, you may follow him in your car. Walking to school may be the best way to motivate him to get on the bus tomorrow.

Reward Him for Being Responsible

You can also reward your child for making healthy choices. A simple reward system may motivate him to try and get ready faster in the morning.

Or, you might create token economy system where he earns tokens for getting ready by a certain time and for getting on the bus. Then, the tokens can be exchanged for privileges, like time using his electronics. 

Continue Reading