10 Steps to a Successful School Drop Off

W1426Well, you asked for it. So here it is – An Idiot’s Guide to Dropping Your Kids Off at School.

1) If you feel the need to “make out” with your children before letting them out of your car please do not enter the drop off zone and proceed to the nearest parking space where you can smooch, snuggle, family group hug and high-five your way to a kinder and gentler morning without holding up the line for 5 minutes.

2) If your children are shoeless, half-dressed or require some final grooming tips before being allowed to disembark from your vehicle please do not enter the drop off-line. All children should be “mission ready” for their school day before you reach the drop zone. This also applies to the parent that feels the need to get out of their car, unbuckle each kid and then place their backpacks on their backs. Rest assured parent if your child can use scissors at school and go to the bathroom independently I can guarantee they have long ago figured out how to master a seat belt and know that the straps to their backpack do indeed go on their back. All you’re doing is holding up the line and sabotaging your children’s fine motor skills.

3) If you have a child that had a melt down en route to school please pull over somewhere private and address the issue. The drop off-line is not a hospitable place to conduct any kind of family therapy. Studies show that a teary, unhappy child is further distressed by the act of having to get out of the car.

4) In the interest of public safety do not attempt the triple play of talking on your phone, putting on makeup and driving while negotiating school drop off.  Because when you hit the back of my car it won’t be because I stopped short it will because you were distracted by the superb magnifying qualities of your new lash boosting mascara.

5) Do not, I repeat, do not, get out of your car to “visit” with another mother. Nothing you have to share, no gossipy tidbit, even high value teacher gossip or spousal cheating updates, are valid enough for you to leave your vehicle. All parents doing transportation duties should keep their butts firmly affixed to the driver seat.

6) If your child is having to “pack mule” anything that is either half their body weight, bigger than their arm span or is fragile such as:  An Invention/Science Fair project, diorama or worse the dreaded Puppet Stage book report please make arrangements to help them unload and transport said items to school from the safety of the parking lot.

7) If you are in a hurry because you are so much busier and more important than any other parent in line please leave for school 10 minutes earlier so we don’t have to listen to you honk your horn or attempt to squeeze into a line opening that is not big enough to accommodate your vehicle or your ego.

8) If your child’s teacher is the assigned school professional working the drop off zone please resist the urge to address a concern about your child, ask a question about homework or engage in any “sucking up” chit chat. This will only result in you holding up the line and irritating the teacher.

9) Never, ever, park in the drop off-line. I know you think that you’re just going to run into school for less than 60 seconds and what could it hurt to leave your car for a moment but in the time space continuum that is the drop off zone that 60 seconds stretches into at least 10 minutes. It’s not your fault. It’s never your fault. You’re a popular mom and you ran into another mom you needed to talk to or you got waylaid by someone wanting you (of course) to volunteer for the latest fundraiser. Meanwhile, your car is causing not only a traffic stoppage but a disaster is in the making as other cars have to go around your parked vehicle compromising the safety of children.

10) Please be aware that the interior of your car does not make you invisible nor is it totally sound proof. I can see you squeeze that chin zit, pick your nose, do the “what if I got a facelift “ maneuver with your hands as you pull your forehead skin up into your hairline and I can hear you scream at your kids. This, while not always holding up the line, does turn me right off my morning Diet Coke.

In review, the perfect drop off scenario should be as follows: Kids are dressed, backpacks are at the ready. You approach the drop off zone in full alert, hands on steering wheel, preferably in the 10 & 2 position, and eyes forward. One of your child’s teachers is doing drop off duty but you valiantly fight your desire to speak to her about the book report due next week or comment on her “super cute skirt.” When it’s your turn for car unloading you initiate the “bye bye, have a great day” sequence, as children unload swiftly and with all of their belongings. You then ease away from the curb and drive away from the school secure in the knowledge that you are a master of the drop off. Take pride in that fact. It’s not an accomplishment a majority of parents can claim.

cover_1.3-2*Attention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂



58 thoughts on “10 Steps to a Successful School Drop Off

  1. Ramblings of a Singleton says:

    I love number 10 — advice for any driver, really! Particularly Mr Business man is flashy suit, driving flashy car — what’s the nose picking all about?!

    Thanks again for allowing me to use your post, and for the plug!

  2. Anna says:

    I will say, that the school my kids are at this year has the carpool lane figured out. The guy in charge is a retired naval officer gone PE coach, and he has that drop off lane running like a well commanded air craft carrier. He even has a big scary guy come knock on your window if you dont follow protocol. Then you have to pull away from the curb and try again….

  3. AM says:

    Wish I could anonymously publish this in our school newsletter…so many of the parents at my sons school park in the pick up line and it drives me crazy….love this post 🙂

  4. Karen H. says:

    now THAT was hilarious and SO true however you forgot one MAJOR complaint or both drop off and pick up – the mom who insists on getting out of the car to unbuckle/buckle their child in the car. they also tend to assist in the getting on of coats and backpacks. If you child is school aged ready they should be able to do these things on their own – park and help the little delinquent but don’t make it MY problem!

  5. Diana says:

    I know of a school that posts a numbered sign in the passenger-side window of each family’s car. The number corresponds to their child. After the final bell of the day, the kids gather in classrooms near the front door. A school employee or volunteer outside sees which cars are waiting in line, and they use the loud-speaker to announce those numbers to the classrooms so the corresponding children will present themselves to wait in line. That way, instead of clogging up the sidewalk with kids whose parents won’t be pulling up for 15 more minutes, things go really smoothly. They also have someone standing there to help the kids out of the car in the morning. My child’s school gives the same assist bright and early every school day.

  6. Heather says:

    As the crossing guard at our school I have seen not one or two of these BUT ALL of them!!! I hate these people they drive me nuts before I have had my morning coffee. I wish I could publish this in our school news letter!

  7. Newsy Mom says:

    This is SO true!! and since I publish our school newsletter, it is very tempting to simply slip this in…. 🙂

    Thanks for an awesome post!!

  8. Julie says:

    As an educator who has car rider duty EVERYDAY…. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish I could send this to a handful of parents!!!

  9. Korrie says:

    OMG. Your kids HAVE to be at the same school as mine. I actually QUIT carpool and make my kids walk out at the end of the day b/c I couldn’t deal with all the idiot parents that can’t figure out how to get thru carpool. We use the number system at our school too. It goes smoothly if the kids remember their numbers! I also hate the parents who park inthe drop off line and not only get out to help their little darlings, but let the kids out on the TRAFFIC side of the car. DUH, you’re asking to have your offspring run over by the impatient, “My time is more important than yours” parents who dodge out of line and try to pass everyone else to first out of the lot. I think we should be allowed to throw tennis balls filled with paint at their windshields, like a scarlet letter for the world to see they’re carpool idiots.

  10. TracyJune says:

    Might I add, DO NOT see how long the carpool lane is and sneak around to the bus area to drop your lil darling off. It’s unsafe and against school rules. It makes the bus drivers wanna run your vehicle over…with you in it.

  11. Denise says:

    Missing from the list is the parent that doesn’t kick their kids out at the curb but pull up one car length so they are at the front door. Meanwhile the other 6 cars behind them have already unloaded and the 20 cars behind them are wondering what the heck is the holdup.

  12. Melissa says:

    My sons school for drop off in the morning you have to get out of your car let your child out and walk them to one of the teachers standing outside waiting to recieve them. However in the afternoon you aren’t allowed to exit your car. You have a tag that hangs on your rear view mirror and someone comes out to collect a paper with your child’s name and teacher on it and they have multiple people bring out the children.

  13. callie says:

    This might be the best think I have ever read! I am sure your child must attend the same school as mine!!! Thanks for writing this!!!

  14. hollow tree ventures says:

    I accidentally found you in what turned out to be a lucky Google search. I’m a huge fan of snark, and now a huge fan of yours. I’ll be printing off multiple copies of this post and littering the schoolyard with it in a few weeks when school starts.

  15. Mommyto3Girls says:

    This is spot on. Before having my girls, I taught kindergarten and these were all issues with drop-off. In front of our school was a one-way street and we actually had a mother who would try to be sneaky and cut to the front of the drop-off line by BACKING up the street (so her vehicle would technically be pointing the right direction on the one-way street) and then butting in line. Our morning monitor called the police after it happened every single day for a week and they were able to ticket her!

  16. debcb says:

    I watched an old guy park in between the two lanes, get out of the car and walk into school during pick up time last month. On top of his middle school kid wanting to die, traffic was backed up for miles.

  17. Nonchalant says:

    And please don’t send Grandpa and Grandma in with no training and practice. Tis better for them to park in the lot and walk up with the child.

  18. susan farrington says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve witnessed the same gray van holding up our line every day for the past week! Even after the school has send two “notes” home giving step by step drop off protocol!

  19. Danny says:

    Also the bus lane is designated as such. DO GO IN THERE IF YOU ARE NOT DRIVING A BUS Don’t yell at the bus driver when they don’t move. They are not the one that made a mistake.

  20. Breece says:

    If said mothers had actual jobs to go to/ be on time to after dropping their little dumplin’ off, rest assured the line would move at a MUCH faster clip.

  21. Kirstie says:

    To quote a great scene from Mr. Mom, “You’re doing it wrong.” I swear at our school it’s the dads who take their once yearly trip to school and thumb their nose at all common sense that cause the greatest problems. But I’d love to have a sign from that quote to flash at some of these parents.

  22. Pat says:

    “Missing from the list is the parent that doesn’t kick their kids out at the curb but pull up one car length so they are at the front door. Meanwhile the other 6 cars behind them have already unloaded and the 20 cars behind them are wondering what the heck is the holdup.”

    We have a similar problem, except first car pulls up and lets a child off and then 95% of the cars behind that car wait till they are the first car. If the first car would actually pull around to the far side of the carpool lane and everyone let out children at the same time the first car did it we could be emptying out 15 cars at the same time. I sometimes want to go up to all the cars waiting to be the first car and ask if all the children have a disability that they can’t walk a few yards into the school.

  23. AzMomof4 says:

    Our school has 2 educators at drop-off in the
    Morning and you can’t let your kids out until they are helping you. At the beginning of the school year, the teachers hand out placards to put in the dash of your car with your child’s first name and class (K1, 3A, etc) for pick-up. All the kids wait in the Multi Purpose Room with their classes and a few teachers walk the pick-up lane with walker-talkies and call out whose parents are waiting. The kids are sent out to wait in line with another teacher until you pull to the head of the line. 300+ students are picked up within 10 minutes! It’s very efficient!!

  24. SLM67 says:

    Oh, must add: Please educate all substitute dropoff drivers (read: grandparents) in the proper form and etiquette of the drop off routine. Nine times out of ten the circa 1990 silver Buick Century parked in the drop off lane and causing the fifteen minute long back-up line belongs to Gram or Gramps who thinks her/his job includes a personal escort to the front door.

  25. Janet says:

    We have also had the District send repair crews to campus that have parked in the drop-off/pick-up lane when other parking is available 15 feet away.

  26. Michelle says:

    This rings so true with our school drop off/pick up situation that I started feeling my heart rate increase as I read it. Hilarious, yet totally on point! Thank you , THANK YOU for writing this!!! I wish our principal would publish it in our next newsletter. 🙂

  27. Jillishness says:

    I’d suggest 4 and 8 for your hands on the steering wheel. If your airbag deploys from the others in the line doing something stupid, 10 and 2 will leave you with at least one broken arm. My mother in law can attest to this.


    This is the best article/blog post I’ve ever read about the horror of the much dreaded school dropoff lane! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t wait to read more!! You’re a very talented writer. You made my day! I’m sharing this on my facebook page with the world, not just my FB friends!!! ☀️

  29. Ellen says:

    I drive a school bus. The school pick up/ drop off is bad enough, but then you get some of those drivers that think they can squeeze thru the bus loop faster. The bus loop & faculty parking enter & exit thru a different gate than parent pickup.I have laughed several times, because the parent went into the faculty parking lot. They obviously didnt realize that buses get there 30-45 min early & have to wait on kids to be dismissed. And then we are held an addition 15 min so the school can be searched again to make sure no students are loitering somewhere. I have seen several cars wait an hour to get out, because they were in a hurry.

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