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How to Ease School-Bus Anxiety for Your First-Time Rider

No matter how excited your child is about starting kindergarten, seeing that big yellow bus pull up can be nerve-racking! To put the brakes on his anxiety-and yours-try these steps, says Marcy Guddemi, Ph.D., of the Gesell Institute of Human Development:

Take a tour. Many districts offer orientation for first-time riders, when kids can board a parked school bus, look around, practice using the seat belts, and get their questions answered.

Brief your child on safety rules. You can find them -- along with some fun activities -- at Americanschoolbuscouncil.org.

Read all about it. Books that can help your child get mellow about all things wheeled and yellow include Molly Rides the Bus, by Julie Brill-hart, and My School Bus: A Book About School Bus Safety, by Heather Feldman.

Suss out your stop. Point out surrounding landmarks so he'll recognize it on his own. Reassure him that an adult will always be there when he gets on and off (most districts require it).

Buddy up. Enlist an older sib or a neighbor's kid to stick close by your child and maybe even sit with him those first few days.

Get in good with the driver. Help your child learn her name and have him greet her as he boards. A good relationship will put you both at ease, and he'll be less shy about reporting any problems that may occur.

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