With this school year almost at a close, there's one thing I won't be missing: the line we drive through to drop off and pick up our kids. It's a damn nightmare. Right now, my kids go to two different schools and while each have their pros and cons, it seems like a lot of people don't know or enact any of the basic rules for drop off and pickup at either school. It's not a knock on the school, or even the parents, really. It's merely a perfect storm of circumstances, emotions, and events that make for a ridiculously uncomfortable, often stressful situation. To be honest, I'm stressed just thinking about it.
Back in my day the whole pick up and drop off process was rather uneventful. When I wasn't riding the bus, and before I had a license, my mom or grandmother went through the motions. I don't remember any bothersome navigation rules to keep traffic flowing, or lingering cars that prevented such flow from actually happening. It just wasn't a topic or an issue that I can remember either of my caretakers being particularly concerned with.
So I'm not sure why it's an everyday thing for us now, other than people are probably more distracted than ever. Between social media and life, it's hard not to be. However, if you're in my drop off or pick up line at the preschool, here are some basic rules so that, you know, we can get this thing over and done with (and without it ruining the rest of our day).
Follow The Signs
It may sound super basic, but there are a ton of traffic signs by both the K-8 school and the preschool that direct you where to go. Surprisingly, it's more complicated, apparently, than it sounds. While I might stop at the stop sign, others might feel free to yield in an area where children are walking. Along with that, when nearing the K-8 lot, there's painting on the road with actual arrows and people still panic and go the wrong way. I get that it's a frantic time each morning, but take a breath and read the damn signs. It'll be OK.
Don't Interrupt The Flow Of Traffic
Everyone's on their way somewhere during these busy mornings. Whether it's work or back home, when the traffic flow is interrupted it causes a a damn traffic jam that no one has time to deal with. The only fix is to wait it out and, some days, I don't have the patience (but still, I wait).
There will always be some parent who chooses to drive around, too, therefore causing a whole other unnecessary disruption when a minute of waiting would done the job. If we could all just follow the signs and keep it moving, that'd be super cool.
Pull All The Way Up
Even when the rules are stated, there's an unsaid understanding that if you're in the lead of the pack of cars, you go as far forward as you're able so that more people can be part of the line. Unfortunately, there's too many who pull up just far enough to drop off or pick up their own child, with no regard for those behind them. All it does is slow down the whole process and, honestly, I just can't. Please, pull up.
Get Your Child Out Quickly
Along with being considerate in the actual driving of your car through these lines, I often see children who take forever to get out of the car, which holds up the line. Even worse, sometimes a parent gets out to walk around and help the child out.
Some days, I honestly don't care. However, if I have work to do, I cannot sit through this and be expected to stay calm. When it comes time for my kids to get out, I tell them bye, unlock the door, and away they go. Boom. Success.
Do Not Abandon Your Car For Any Reason
Do not, I repeat do not, leave your car parked or running in the drop off or pick up line for any reason. It causes such panic, apparently, and almost everyone waiting in line can't seem to figure out whether to go or wait or drive around or what. Then, everything's a mess as a result.
In our town, there's a separate space for cars that want to park. Please, go there.
Put Your Phone Down
If I had a dollar for every person on their phone through the drop off and pick up line, I'd have a lot of dollars. It doesn't take but a few short moments to go from the start of this process to the finish, so there's really no need to hunker down and dive into your social mentions. Actually, if you don't, and you just keep your phone away, we'll all get through this a little faster.
Plus, seeing your screen lit up through the window distracts me from paying attention, too. Let's just not.
Move Along Now
Once through all of the above, another obvious thing to do might be to, you know, go. When I'm in the lead, I do just that. However, not everyone is ready for the challenge. Once your kid is out, it's time to press on the gas and drive away, following the signs to the exit. Use your turns signal and pass with caution. It's not time to text someone or roll down your window to ask a teacher a question or really anything but leaving. Be the leader of the car parade and lead your way on out of here.
For the sake of everyone's sanity, consider these basic rules at every school drop off and pick up and be a hero to literally everyone in your path (most of all, me).