Is your kid ready to take the bus unsupervised?
It's daunting to think about sending your child off to travel alone by bus - but it sure teaches them a lot about independence. The following tips will help to ensure a safe, unsupervised ride for your little one - and give you peace of mind!
It’s a very different world now than it was in our youth or our parents’ days. Recent studies have found that in some countries only 6% of children play outside unsupervised. So it’s become the norm that we are constantly watching, supervising or at least monitoring our children.
So, when you’re thinking of letting your child travel alone on the bus, train or flight, it can be a daunting ordeal. It goes against the very grain of our parenting, to send your child off from home, unsupervised.
Travelling by bus is perhaps not as intimidating as flights and trains. There is no need to deal with rigorous security checks, visas and immigration (unless it’s to a neighbouring country), but even then, bus travel is much less intimidating. Most children will have already been familiar with them either from their bus rides to school, or through field trips organised. But in any case, here are some primers to get your child ready for unsupervised bus travel.
- Brief your child on safety rules. Essentially this means staying in their seats, buckling up while the bus is in motion, staying close to the bus and informing the bus driver if they are going to the restroom during any of the comfort breaks along the journey. Remind your child to never stand directly in front of or behind the bus.
- Know your destination. Let your child know what to expect once they reach their destination. Provide them with any key landmarks or designated place to wait for whomever will be greeting them when they arrive. You may find it useful to call the station helpline to get some guiding points from them.
- Embrace technology. If your child is carrying a smartphone, you may find it useful to install a GPS safety tracker or journey tracker to monitor your child’s travel. Do ensure the phone has enough battery to last the entire journey though!
- Have emergency contact numbers ready. Ensure your child has all their particulars, and yours, to allow them or anyone to contact you if they require help. Make sure they have the details of their final destination and contact person at the end of their journey to contact to. Ensure the person greeting them at the other side is there early if not on time.
- Know the driver. Get to the bus station early, and get to know the driver on the bus. He/she will be the most important person to know and help ease your child’s journey. A good relationship will put you and your child at ease, and they’ll be less shy to ask for help/assistance if they need it.
This article was contributed by Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, co-founder of CatchThatBus.com, an online ticketing and journey planner mobile app dedicated to making bus travel in Asia, simpler, safer and more convenient. You may currently purchase express bus tickets for Malaysia and Singapore from their website www.catchthatbus.com or via their mobile app available in the Google Play store.
You can help them develop their idea further and transform the bus industry by helping to vote them to win the US75,000 grand prize at the Allliance BizSmart Challenge. Deadline is by 11:59pm, Wednesday, 26 November 2014.