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Life In General

How To Get Your Kids To The Bus On Time



Does anybody else struggle with this?


As the minutes tick past each morning, your voice gets louder and louder, hustling the kids through their morning routines.  The kids dawdle and take their time, while your heart rate climbs and your patience gets shorter.

Believe me, I’ve been there.  If you think getting 2 or 3 kids out the door on time for the school bus is hard, try getting one baby, 5 toddlers, and 2 school agers (all in full winter gear) out the door in plenty of time for the bus.

It can be done!  And you can do it without going bonkers, and with everyone still in one piece.

The key is planning ahead.  The more that’s ready ahead of time, the easier your morning becomes. 


How To Get Your Kids To The Bus On Time


Get out of bed on time and get yourself ready before the kids.  Take care of yourself first.  Mommying 101, right?  But how often do we forget about ourselves?  And then it just means we have to get ourselves ready at the same time as getting all of the kids ready.

Have lunches, water bottles, school bags, permission forms and agendas ready to go.  Whether you pack your children’s lunches or they do, get it done early (or even the night before).  Refilling water bottles and signing forms can be done when the kids get home from school, after dinner, or before they wake up – but most importantly, they should be done before it’s time to leave for the bus.

Store outdoor clothes – coats, snowpants, boots, mitts, hats – and backpacks where the kids can easily find them.  Create a storage system that enables the kids to know exactly where their things are so that there are no last-minute seaches for lost items.

Wake the kids up at least an hour before they need to leave.  If they have a hard time getting out of bed, they need to go to bed earlier.  Often the threat of an earlier bedtime is motivation enough for them to get out of bed ;-).  When all else fails, try a spray bottle filled with water – misting the air above their heads works wonders!


Be consistent in making sure the kids are ready for the day (dressed, breakfast, face washed, teeth brushed, hair done, etc) before they have free time to watch tv, game or play.

Keep breakfast as low key as possible, and as self-serve as possible.  Having a selection of cold cereal, bowls and spoons on the table makes it easy for the school-age kids to serve themselves while you change diapers, feed the baby or help your toddler get breakfast.  Having a wrap or carrier for a baby that just wants to be held is a lifesaver!

Start getting the kids out the door long before the bus is due to arrive.  Older kids can wait on the porch or in the yard, while younger ones can sit near the front door while you get the others ready.  For me, it’s always been easier to get the older ones ready first and then work my way down to the youngest (who often needs the most help), and then to get my own outdoor clothes on last.

Aim to be at the bus stop 5-15 minutes early, depending on how many kids you have.  That way, when the inevitable delay happens, you’ve got some margin for error.

Create consequences for when children drag their feet and are late.  For my kids, I was able to follow through on the threat to make them walk to school if they dawdled and missed the bus.  My oldest had to walk once when he was 4, and has been early ever since.  The youngest had to walk once when she was about 6, and we haven’t had an issue since.  The middle child seems to have learned from his siblings’ mistakes :-).  If you can’t walk the kids to school safely, then come up with another consequence and enforce it every time.  Consistency is key.

Many kids learn that if they take too long to get ready for school, they’ll miss the bus and earn a free day off.  But working with them to get there on time sets them up for not only a better education, but for an ethic of punctuality and an attitude of responsibility for their future lives at work and at home.

How do you make mornings go more smoothly in your house?



Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    These are good tips! Weekday mornings can be very busy. We usually pick out outfits from the night before to save time!

  2. Alli

    When my kids were little, I would pack their lunches and help them get their clothes and shoes ready for the next day. It’s so frustrating when you’re walking out the door and a kid can’t find one of their shoes. Mornings are hectic enough without the added pressure. Great tips!!
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  3. Jaime Nicole

    These are great tips – it can be a real struggle. What has worked best for us is getting as much done the night before.
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  4. Nancy @ whispered inspirations

    I drive my kids to school but great tips! I know how hectic it can be in the morning.

  5. Sarah Ebner

    Excellent tips – if only we could follow all of them on a daily basis! I always try to make my son’s lunch the day before to save any panic, and tell him to put clothes out the day before too – a good way to save time!

  6. Cara (@StylishGeek)

    Fortunately I did not have that dilemma when my daughter was growing up because the school is just a few streets away and I normally drop her off on my way to work. But still this is a helpful post for those who face the same issue.

  7. Mistee Dawn

    Great tips! My mom had so much trouble getting me to the bus on time. Thankful that I homeschool my daughter!

  8. John Lopez

    Wow, I’m going to send this to my wife, she needs some assistance with this for sure. Great tips!

  9. Terri Beavers

    These are all great tips. I’m going to send this along to my daughter as she’s had to take the kids several times because they missed the bus.
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  10. Rebecca Swenor

    I know I had always had trouble getting my kids to the bus stop on time especially when they became teenagers. These are indeed great tips to getting them to the bus stop on time. It is really so much easier if they do get up an hour before they are do at the bus stop.

  11. Jasmine Watts

    These are really wonderful tips… These tips would be helpful for my sister.. I will share with her!!

  12. coolchillmom

    do we ever struggle with this! breakfast is out pitfall everyone starts chatting and eating slower than usual. I guess we love our kitchen!

  13. Britni

    Thanks for the great tips. I need to figure out how to make mornings a little more calmer in my house. It seems like no matter how much time we have we are always scrambling at the last minute!

  14. Jenn

    Great tips. I could have used them back when my girls were in grade school. Crazy how time flies.

  15. Bites for Babies

    I am way too organized and type-A to not have my kids on the bus on time…it’s a blessing and a curse 😉
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  16. Esther | The Cuteness

    Great tips! I remember taking the bus as a kid, it was always an ordeal to get out the door and to the stop on time. I only have little ones right now (2 years old, and another on the way) so I still drive her to school. They won’t even let me use carpool line at this age!
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  17. Tami

    Fortunately, my kiddos aren’t bus riders. However, some of these suggestions can be used to get them in the car on time.

  18. Mimi Green

    Great tips, I follow a lot of these just to get the kids out of the door on time. We’ve always dropped them off but next year my son has to take the bus.

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