How typical is it for parents to give an end-of-school-year tip or gift to the bus driver at a private school (for a kindergarden student, 5 days a week)?

If it is usual or frequent, cash or gift? And what is a resonable amount to give or spend?

  • Have you tried asking the other parents?
    – WRX
    May 17 '17 at 15:22

This is entirely locale-dependent (and I mean specifically to your town). It is certainly common to give end of year gifts to various school personnel including the bus driver in some areas. Ask other parents who have older children what they do, particularly if you know one well.

In general you commonly see this handled a few ways for any sort of school employee.

  • given directly to them by the students, preferably in a card so not obvious it is a specific gift and to avoid shaming those who cannot afford a cash type gift
  • Money collected by a parent or PTA type member and a larger gift purchased
  • Card and or personalized gift made or chosen by the student, particularly if the student had a close relationship with the employee or shared a particular interest (for example, my kindergartner plays Pokémon as does his teachers assistant; he will give her something Pokémon related. )

You are certainly not required to give such a gift, and the amount depends on your personal finances mostly. I would expect not more than $50 or so at the very most unless you are in an exceptionally wealthy area, and more commonly $10-$20 I would expect in moderately well off suburbs. But if the driver is a personal friend or if the student had a particularly close relationship with the driver - more is fine.

No matter what you do, be cognizant of the other students. Some may not have the finances to give a gift; and some may have parents who do not believe in them - even if the student would want to. Give the gift discretely. Even in kindergarten, these things matter. Make sure your child knows not to talk about it with their friends, and if that's not likely to happen perhaps don't involve the child until they are able to be discrete themselves (but work on this!)

  • Great answer, and imo, better than mine.
    – WRX
    May 17 '17 at 17:56

Years ago parents at our school made/gave cards with thank you notes and gave gift certificates for lunches at local restaurants -- McD's, Starbucks and so on.

In my personal opinion you might in the future consider giving the gift two weeks into the term and then the card and note at the end. This shows your respect and appreciation when you aren't just one of the crowd.

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