School Pickup Etiquette


I was having a particularly spicy week last week, which is rare for me. I’m generally quite steady day to day. Happy, content, and easy. It really takes a lot to get me upset. I am not one to be ruled by my emotions.

Until I am.

You GUYS. Can we please just talk through some proper school drop off/pick up etiquette? Because I am dying a slow painful death in my Jeep. I know I can be a stickler for rules and my type A OCD personality can lean a tad extreme at times but this particular topic has to do with safety and just common decency and there is some stuff that just needs to be said. After posting a five second clip on my Instagram story about, perhaps, wanting to stab things with forks when the rules aren’t followed I received an overwhelming response of direct messages agreeing with me. AMEN! YES! I GET SCHOOL ROAD RAGE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE! WHAT IS WITH ALL THE CUTTING IN LINE! WHY DOES IT TAKE EIGHT MINUTES TO UNLOAD A CAR!

I’m with you my friends. I see you and I am with you. So without further ado, I bring you my school pick up (or drop off) etiquette. Ironically, much of this goes back to the basic social rules we learned in our early elementary years. Let’s revisit them together, shall we?

Rule #1: LINE LEADER STATUS

Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. If you want to be the first one to collect your child and therefore the first one to leave the line you need to earn that. The line leader job isn’t just handed out. If this is important, you need to put in your time and arrive early and wait. Our school dismisses at 2:40, I’ve found that arriving around 2:10 or 2:15 generally puts you in a prime spot. If you can’t wait that long or you do not care if you are the line leader than come when you may but you must accept the next (Kindergarten) cardinal rule….

Rule #2: NO CUTS NO BUTTS NO COCONUTS

And this is where I break down. You guys, I just CAN NOT. For a few days I actually really tried to step outside my own shoes to try to understand why someone would cut through a line of people, gather their kid, and drive back off the whole time completely disregarding the line of other people waiting, not to mention disrupting the flow of the entire line. I’ve been racking my brain. And this is the best I have come up with.

  • Your home is on fire. Ok, I suppose if my house was on fire I would definitely be in a more anxious mood but I would probably ensure that the fire department is handling things properly and, yes, definitely get my kids in a more hurried yet still orderly fashion but not necessarily to rush home. Plus, your home can’t be on fire every day can it? Maybe different sections? That should really be checked out.
  • You have a standing appointment at 2:42. Ok, this would just be weird. But maybe there is something really important going on in our area at 2:42 that I am just not aware of. Am I missing out on something awesome? Please, tell me. And can the time be changed to, I don’t know, 3:00? 3:15? Maybe?!
  • You are giving birth in your car. Again, couldn’t exactly happen daily but let’s pretend it’s happened once. Yet even then, I don’t think I would drive to pick up before the hospital, better yet I would hope I wouldn’t be driving at all. I just can’t see this one happening. I’m really grasping at straws here.
  • You (or a loved one in your car) are about to die. A terrible thought, but again one that could possibly excuse the cutting in line behavior although again if this was happening to me I really would assign the responsibility of pick up to someone else and would be, perhaps, driving to the hospital or dealing with the paramedics.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Those are the only things I could possibly maybe wrap my brain around as a reason why I would ever cut in a line of other people. So what I feel this really boils down to is that there are people that must honestly think their time is more important than other’s which just makes me ……… confused. You do realize we are all picking up children, getting them a snack, changed, off to activities, homework, etc? I really don’t think anyone’s schedule is more important than the next person. Actually, I know that.

Rule #3: PLEASE DON’T DRIVE 45MPH IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT

I’m going to be real honest here. I have a lead foot. I drive fast, and have a record of speeding tickets (which I can never get out of to save my life) to show for it. I 100% blame my father. I drive exactly like him and assume zero responsibility for this behavior myself. Mike will barely get in a car with me as he legit DRIVES LIKE A SNAIL but that is a whole other topic for a whole other day.

Yet even myself, the one with the lead foot, knows when to reign it in.

And that would be in a school zone. With small children. And teachers. And aids. And proper signage. And a POLICE OFFICER. Red flag, red flag, red flag. Nothing about this environment screams speed.

See, I have a Kindergartner at this school. And he’s barely five. And he still like, falls over all the time. So it would just make me an overall happier less anxious person if I knew when he was walking outside at pick up that there weren’t massive SUV’s whizzing by him. Just saying. Also, I’m sorry. But young kids are just…..dumb, at times. Especially boys, which I have. Logan, my eleven year old, walked IN FRONT OF MY MOVING JEEP at pick up once. Thankfully I was going like 5MPH but still. You just can’t predict these young crazy minds sometimes, especially when they are breathing in their first few free moments of post school bliss with their friends.

Let’s just pretty please slow it down.

Rule #4: THIS IS NO TIME FOR HELICOPTER PARENTING

Look, I get it. You want to make sure your kid is all set and safe and buckled and has his/her lunch and snack and water bottle and gloves and homework and one last kiss and one last hug OH MY GOSH but at drop off or pick up is not the time to do this. It needs to be swift and I’ve decided the only two reasons to ever get out of your car are 1. If your poor child is on crutches or 2. If your child plays the tuba and it weighs more than their actual body. That’s it. Otherwise, you stay in your car and you encourage your child to get in or out as fast as humanely possible. We can do this. They can do this. I really do have faith in all of us.

Rule #5: BE KIND TO THE AIDS

Because it’s the dead of winter in Chicago and they are standing outside in the freezing cold essentially keeping all of our children, alive. I just think it’s kind to quickly smile and say thank you. A nice simple gesture.

That’s it. I’m off my soap box. Not sure I can show my face at pick up again. Boys? Maybe it’s time to take the bus.

Originally Published at A-Life-From-Scratch.com.


About the Author

courtney-glantz-a-life-from-scratch-squareBarrington writer and mom of two boys, Courtney Glantz, shares stories of what is happening in her kitchen and home on the oh so authentic lifestyle blog, A Life From Scratch. Follow along at A-Life-From-Scratch.com to read about what Courtney’s cooking, her thoughts on motherhood, her Sunday meal plan line ups, gift ideas, home design, fashion, and more!


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