5yo can't behave on the bus!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-20-2004
5yo can't behave on the bus!
Thu, 10-03-2013 - 4:47pm

I am at a complete loss for what to do with my son. In the afternoons my son sits alone and the driver always says he's good, but I've been getting daily reports from his morning driver about how bad he is: he yells, he jumps around, and doesn't listen to the driver when he tells him to stop. Of course I understand where all this is coming from: the bus is crowded in the morning so the kids need to sit 3 to a seat, and when my son gets riled up with other kids he goes insane (I see this at home with his siblings, even). I have to literally grab him by the shoulders, hold him still, and make him look at me before I can talk to him when he gets like that or it doesn't even register - so I know that there is no way he will hear or process what his driver is saying from the front seat when he's all riled up.

We've tried doing a sticker chart and rewards of iPad time (his favorite thing in the world,) time outs, everything. He recites the rules of the bus for me every morning before school. The problem is, it doesn't seem like he's willfully misbehaving. He doesn't seem to know when he's not being good. He always tells me that he was "good" or "pretty good" on the bus, and then I hear from his driver that he was going nuts (and his sister on the bus corrobrates the driver's story). My son seems genuinely confused when his driver says this and insists that he "forgot" that he wasn't being goo, or that he thought he was being good. He seems to have no control and no awareness of what he's doing or how he's behaving.

My son is a sweet boy, very analytical and loving and talks your ear off. He can sit and pay attention to drawing or coloring for hours, and is really capable of sitting still sometimes. But other times he is just out of control - in people's faces, talking way too loud, hitting for no reason. At those times he can't sit still, can't make eye contact, and can't calm down. He's always been like this, I saw it even as a baby. 

How much of this is normal boy behavior (he's my only boy so I have only my super-mellow girls to compare him to)? Should I be thinking about ADHD or something? And what should I do about the bus? 

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 10-03-2013 - 5:10pm
Is this his first year on the bus? It'll take some adjustment to get used to. Can you ask the bus driver to have your son sit in the front seat behind the bus driver, maybe that would give him a little more "calmness" being right with the driver. Or can he sit with his sister? I am sure his sister won't appreciate it much, but maybe just for a few weeks to get him used to riding the bus with so many kids on it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Fri, 10-04-2013 - 7:32am

I have an ADHD kid and its ALL the time all over the place or at least thats how it was for us. He couldn't sit in class, can't sit still at home. Always on the go. I have a younger son who I don't think is ADHD but sees his older brother do it so it seems normal to him but he started kindergarten this year and so far no complaints on the sitting still thing. Have had some paying attention and listening but think he is overwhelmed. Its his first school of any kind experience (we skipped passed preschool too expensive) and somethings are a lot harder than others and thats when I see the didn't listen and follow instructions on papers and I see it at home if we review it.

Now in other ways he is WAY more wild then my oldest (climbing bansters, fenses, running into traffic) but he is just different then my oldest was. I am doing a different school for him then I did my oldest and part is I am want an impartial view on his wildness. I know if he goes through same teachers his brother did they will jump well his brother is ADHD when really I think he is just overwhelmed. We didn't get the offical diagnosis with oldest until 2nd grade. School work with us for accomidations until they could do no more.

If its not a problem in the afternoon then its probably more he is overwhelmed in the morning. He is still young and this is all new. Also wondering if its different bus drivers is it maybe one is more tolerable for things? Is it just him or are there other kids acting up and maybe the morning driver is overwhelemed too? He could be still acting out some in afternoon but smaller numbers and more tolerable driver could change reaction. How is he doing in actual class? Are they raising issues. if not I wouldn't worry so much yet about ADHD.

Boys are definately different then girls and the school year is still new and this is all probably still new to him. Just stick to setting standards as to how he should act at school and on bus. Maybe eventually losing Ipad time it could click. Currently for every time he acts up at homework my 5 year old losses TV time. 3rd night in a row he gets no TV hopefully soon he will learn but he is STUBBURN

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2007
Mon, 10-07-2013 - 4:49pm

My daughter is 5 years old. On her bus, the kindergarteners and 1st graders MUST sit as close as possible to the bus driver.  He keeps those seats vacant for the younger passengers (so they can stay away from any potential bullies).  Maybe you could talk to the bus driver about saving him a certain seat each day, to prevent his hyperactivity.