Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Six Tips for School Drop-Off (Day 103)

Let's discuss school drop-off procedure. 

I do not suggest stopping for a sandwich break in the school drop-off line. 

I think everyone forgot how to make their children exit a vehicle in the school drop-off lane. 

Look, I am not perfect and I often cause major disruptions everywhere I go and every single member of my family, including me, endlessly requires and requests special accommodations to participate in everything. And when my oldest was little, she needed some help at drop off (but not in the drop off lane! I parked!) And I do not follow any rules at school pick-up. At that point in the day, I don't care anymore what anyone thinks. 

So, I get it, we've all got problems. BUT, I really do believe the school drop-off line is not the place for your problems. You can take your problems to a parking spot. 

In all my years of dropping kids off at school curbs, I've seen some things--parents having arguments, cars running out of gas while stopped at a very inconvenient angle at the curb, children sobbing and refusing to exit the vehicle, searches for lunch boxes that went missing in trunks and neighborly catch-ups while other cars line up desperate to deposit their child at school.  

And we all have one bad day, but we must remain dedicated to not all having the bad day on the same day and causing traffic jams and madness! We cannot all fall apart! Put your oxygen mask on first people! 

I have to say, it is nice to deal with "normal" problems (like parents feeding their children a 3-course brunch buffet at drop-off while their abandoned vehicle blocks the drop-off circle) versus the pandemic things like mask shaming, screening surveys, cohorts and how to mute on Zoom. But, as we progress to our new world of sending our children to school and therefore, dropping them off, I'd like to provide some veteran school drop-off tips:

1. If your child is unable to exit your vehicle without extensive assistance, the school drop off line is not for you. Unless of course, your child really needs to be dropped-off curbside and assisted, then do it. But, I know this is a small population and not the 50 parents who provided full drop support to their child this morning. And if your child does not need this level of support, you need to move out of the way for those who do! 

2. Practice makes perfect! If you feel that you or your child is unable to manage jumping out of a partially stopped vehicle with their backpack and lunch bag, you can practice! Take your car for a spin around the block and then do some practice drills. Be sure to time them and encourage them to keep aiming for a PR. Children love competition and stressful, judgmental games! You can also pit your children against each other, which is what they recommend in all the parenting books from back in the day. 

Be sure to focus on:

a. unbuckling

b. door opening 

c. exiting the vehicle while holding necessary school items. 

d. shutting the door properly

e. keeping emotions in check, squashing down all self-doubt and saving the hysteria for school pick-up (or future therapy sessions)

3. DO NOT STOP AND EXIT YOUR VEHICLE FOR ANY REASON (except if it is on fire or an assassin pops up behind your seat and is trying to strangle you. These are both very unlikely situations).  If your child forgets something, you can just throw it out the window or bring it back later or never! Children need to learn responsibility! If they don't close your door properly, first scream out the window at them or another child passing by to close the door. Or simply hit the locks and pull ahead. You can stop somewhere and fully close it later. Make a mental note to increase your practice drills to 5x/week until they improve. 

4. You can park and walk your child to the front door. In fact, the vast majority of parents in my district are very, very, very fixated on keeping all neighborhood school open because they are in walking distance! So, really, show us all how much you are dedicated to this cause by walking. (we cannot walk; we live 2.5 miles away). Plus, if you walk you get closer to closing the rings on your Apple Watch! It's efficient! 

5. The school car drop off is not the time for the following things:

a. hair braiding 

b. last minute breakfast

c. abandoning your vehicle

d. dispensing life advice

e. conducting an emotional affair 

f. reading the Gettysburg address

g. doing a TikTok

h. catching up with old friends while sipping a latte

The school drop-off line is like the line to jump out of a burning plane. Your altitude is rapidly decreasing--and you've got to get out so you have time to deploy your parachute. JUST GO, no stopping for anything! 

6. If you are a compliant person, it is important to remember many people are not compliant. You must have patience. And it is critical to have other compliant friends to complain too. You won't survive otherwise and you certainly cannot begin honking/screaming/behaving hysterically at drop off or someone will write a blog that begins. . ."Let's discuss road rage in the school parking lot". . . and you really do not need any bad press! 

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