You could say that I’ve always had a passion for the organization and ease of efficient and safe school pickups and drop-offs. I don’t want to brag, but I did spend two years in elementary school as a member of the Russell Boulevard Safety Patrol **brushes shoulders off.**

Now as we face down that bittersweet back to school season, we could all use a brush up on the ins and outs of the infamous school carpool line.

DO

Do research your school’s pick-up and drop-off rules and routes (every school is different!) and study it for yourself. Whether it’s your first day at a brand new school or maybe you’re returning after being remote for a while, it never hurts to brush up on the rules.

DON’T

Don’t forget that you were a novice to the rules of the line once, too. Give those kinder and other newbie parents some grace the first couple of weeks as they learn the lay of the land. 

DO

Do a dry run! In the few days leading up to school starting, grab the kids and their backpacks and maybe an Amazon box equivalent in size to whatever instrument they may haul back and forth (please don’t be a recorder, please don’t be a recorder) and do a dress rehearsal for hopping in and out of the car. Train them to have all of their gear ready to go and to hop out in the car in a swift manner.

That’s a cute smile for your parent, kid, but this is a DON’T. Have that lunch packed away and don’t hold up the line with sweet good-byes and supply handoffs.

DON’T

Don’t wait until the first day of school to find out that little Timmy doesn’t know how to unbuckle (or buckle) his own seat belt or that little Sally doesn’t know how to close the car door on her own.

DO

Do watch Mr. Mom! I mean, I highly encourage you to watch the entire movie always and forever, but if nothing else watch THIS SCENE and understand the importance of an efficient pickup line. “Hi, Jack, I’m Annette….you’re doing it wrong.”

DON’T

Don’t take a dirty car through the pick-up line unless you’ve walked around it entirely and have checked it for little kid finger in the dust graffiti. No one wants to be known as “Mrs. I like Butts” for the entirety of the school year. 

DO

Do know when to put the phone down! We’ve all spent those minutes with the car in park waiting for the bell to ring and scrolling social media, but once it’s game time you need to keep your eye on the prize and get through the line. Not only for the safety of all those around but to avoid the horn honking that happens if you’re deep in TikTok videos and oblivious to the fact that the line has moved on without you.

DON’T

Don’t ever think that you’ll be the first in line to get your kids in the afternoon. I’m convinced that some people drop off their kids in the morning and immediately loop right back and get in line for pick-up. If you need to get the kids out the door in a hurry to rush off to an appointment or practice, it may be best to just check them out early.

DO

Do know when to park and walk them in. Are you going away for a business trip and saying “good-bye” for a few days? Does little Johnny have a castle built out of styrofoam that needs to be carried in for a class project? Park it!

DON’T

Don’t be a jerk to the teachers and staff that work those lines every day. Like mail carriers, neither snow nor rain nor heat keeps these fine people from helping your kids get in and out of school each day. Wave at them. Smile at them. Toss a Sonic or Starbucks drink gift card their way every once in a while (NOT while you’re going through the line, obvs) they deserve it!

DO

Do remember to teach everything you know about the carpool line to anyone who may be picking up your child who may not normally do so. Draw a map for that grandparent or aunt who may be helping you out one day. Maybe send them that Mr. Mom clip, too.

DON’T

Don’t cut in line. Just don’t do it.

DO

Do remember that we all have the same goal in mind — to get the kids to and from school as quickly and safely as possible. Look alive, stay on the ball and have a safe and fun first day back to and from school!

Born in Kansas City, Jamie spent age 8-18 in Columbia, MO yet always considered KC to be home. Jamie returned to Kansas City after high school to attend Avila University, where she earned her degree in Communication. After residing in South KC, Raymore, the Plaza, River Market and Overland Park, Jamie is now a proud (and permanent) resident of Lenexa. Jamie is wife to her love, Andy, and mom to the dream team; Lucy (10), Quinn (8) and Hazel (4). Jamie is the Events Director for Kansas City Mom Collective and loves creating fun and exciting ways to gather as a community, especially if a theme is involved! Jamie loves a good coffee shop, is a self-diagnosed Fall-aholic, loves Jazzercise, is a proud member of “The Read That Society” (a book club full of close friends that just celebrated its 12th anniversary), is an internet ordained minister, loves blasting Paul McCartney out of the minivan windows on a beautiful day and anxiously awaits the day that Joanna Gaines finally realizes they should be best friends.

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