If you drop-off or pick-up your child from school each day, you can relate to what I am about to say. It’s what nightmares are made of. Legit scary.
While schools do their best to maintain an orderly car drop-off system (ours is called “Kiss-and-go”), it only works if parents follow the rules. And let me tell you, I have seen more rule breakers in the drop-off line at school than at a WWF championship match, and unfortunately some parents act like they’re in one. I have seen parents yell, scream, threaten, beep, flip-off and even get out of their cars in anger during drop-off or pick-up. The sad part is it’s usually in front of their children, and others.
Their excuse might be that they’re in a hurry or they’re late…umm, pretty sure we all had chaotic mornings, and that we all have to be somewhere on time, and that we are all here to drop off our kids. How about let’s stop putting our needs above others and work together to make sure the drop-off lane is a safe and civil place to be?
In a recent study by British insurance company Allianz, over 1,000 parents were monitored for their levels of the stress hormone Cortisol during their morning school drop-off routine. The study found that levels peaked just before leaving the house, so by the time parents actually reach the school, they are already super stressed out. A fourth of parents who participated also mentioned that school drop-off stress often sets their mood for the entire day.
We can do better! There are some simple rules we should all be following to ensure less stress during school drop-off/pick-up…
1. Put the cell phone down for a few minutes. Checking your email or text messages is a distraction, and although it’s tempting to do when you’ve stopped for a moment, it only takes a second for the car in front of you to move ahead. I’ve been guilty of this myself a couple times and I always feel stupid for holding up the line. Just put the phone down for the few minutes you’re in line. Besides, kids are darting in and out of cars everywhere, and you want to be completely alert at all times while in a school zone.
P.S. the drop-off lane is also not where you put on your mascara…
2. Don’t get out of your car! Don’t get out of your car to wave to your child, or to straighten their coat, or to say hi to your girlfriend in the car behind you. You’re slowing down the line. Stay in your car, and when the car in front of you moves, you move.
3. Don’t cut in line. If you see a gap open up 10 cars in front of you because someone is on their phone or distracted and hasn’t moved up yet, don’t pull out, speed up and swerve into the spot. Not only is this super dangerous, it’s a super jerk move. We are all waiting our turn. No one else’s time is more important than another’s, but everyone’s safety is.
4. Leave the PDA at home. A quick kiss or hug or high five is fine, but if your son or daughter isn’t ready to get out of the car, is having a bad morning, is throwing a tantrum, or needs extra attention…it’s best to park your car elsewhere and walk him/her to class. Don’t hold up the whole line because your child needs five hugs and five minutes of encouragement that morning. I’m not being insensitive, it’s just that there’s a time and a place for parenting, and it’s not the drop-off line.
5. Stay patient. This. We are adults. We can do this! We can drop off our kids at school without losing our cool, driving like maniacs and throwing evil death stares at one another. Take a deep breath…it will be O.K. Be an example to your children. Things don’t always go the way we would like them to, but we control our own emotions, and we can teach them to handle stressful situations with dignity and grace.