How to Pick Up Your Child From School

I had a request from a reader to illustrate the proper way parents should pick their children up from school. My daughter is still in preschool, and I don’t have to brave the public school car lines yet, BUT I did spend several years as a kindergarten teacher, and let me tell you–people seriously don’t get this.

Don’t Hold Up The Line

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At most schools, there are two different ways you can pick up your child. You can sit in the car and drive around the school, or you can park out in the lot to walk in. If for any reason at all, no matter what, you think you are going to take longer than about 45 seconds to get your children situated in the car–park and walk in. I am not kidding here. There is no reason for you to hold up that car line. Every single person wants that line to go just as fast as you do, and no one gives a flying rat’s patootie about YOUR kid’s day at school or the special carnival your neighborhood is throwing next weekend. That’s what facebook’s for–not the pickup line.


You’re Not Special, Seriously.

I don’t care if you have a doctor’s appointment to get to immediately after school, hell I don’t care if you’re getting married to the Pope. You’re not so special that you can go the wrong way down the street. Is there a special sign you are supposed to hang from your rearview mirror? Don’t hold it up when you think the teacher is looking… hang up the damn sign. School administrators, architects, teachers, and all sorts of people have set this up so that the flow of traffic happens a certain way for good reason. Cars aren’t the only thing driving around the building when school lets out. There are big yellow school buses, daycare vans, and even walkers. If you disrupt the flow of traffic, you not only piss everyone off, but you actually risk the chance of causing a major accident. Follow the rules, goober.

Number of Seatbelts in the Car=Number of Kids in the Car

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I can’t believe I even have to mention this, but you would be amazed at how many people pull up with like sixteen kids in a mini cooper and expect me to pile one more child in there. Look, I know the rules, and that traffic cop sitting at the end of the line who looks bored out of his mind? So does he–and he’s just waiting on an excuse to do something fun. Please don’t make me aide and abet you in your heinous crime, k?

Put Out the Cigarette, Please

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I really don’t care if you smoke. That’s your own business, and you can do whatever you want. But, this is a school zone, and I have to open up your car and shove your kid in there. Can you seriously not stop chain smoking long enough to get through the carpool line? The very second you drive off school property, go right ahead and light up, but please give me a break with that crap. I already have a headache from standing out in the 102 degree weather with whiny children. Oh, and that traffic cop that just let that lady drive by with 96 kids in her Jetta? He might just pull you over--because that’s against the law, too.

Get OFF Your Cell Phone!

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I don’t know if you realize this or not, but your kid has been at school for like seven hours, and they are really excited to see you. When you can’t even take the minute and a half to ask them about their day because you’re too busy blabbering on about the affair your next door neighbor is having with her pool guy, your kid is being ignored–and I might just have something important to say while I am helping your kid get buckled in. It might be something simple like, “Sally was a rockstar helper today. I am very impressed with her attention to detail when cleaning up.” OR it might be something heinous like, “Is there any way I can get you to park over there so we can have a little chat?” Either way–you’re being rude to your kid and your kid’s teacher. Both will like you a little less for it.

I know that’s quite a bit to remember, so let me just sum it up for you–stop whatever it is you have going on in your life and take twenty minutes to pick up your kid. Pay attention to your surroundings, and if someone flips you off or calls you a douchebag–you’re probably not handling the pick up line the right way.



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Jamie Harrington is a mom who loves crafting, playing video games, and painting her nails.

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