How to Pick Up Your Child From School

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I had a request from a reader to illustrate the proper way parents should pick their children up from school. My daughter is still in preschool, and I don’t have to brave the public school car lines yet, BUT I did spend several years as a kindergarten teacher, and let me tell you–people seriously don’t get this.

the pick-up line at school

How to Pick Up Your Child From School

Don’t Hold Up The Line


At most schools, there are two different ways you can pick up your child. You can sit in the car and drive around the school, or you can park out in the lot to walk in. If for any reason at all, no matter what, you think you are going to take longer than about 45 seconds to get your children situated in the car–park and walk in. I am not kidding here. There is no reason for you to hold up that car line. Every single person wants that line to go just as fast as you do, and no one gives a flying rat’s patootie about YOUR kid’s day at school or the special carnival your neighborhood is throwing next weekend. That’s what facebook’s for–not the pickup line.

You’re Not Special, Seriously.

I don’t care if you have a doctor’s appointment to get to immediately after school, hell I don’t care if you’re getting married to the Pope. You’re not so special that you can go the wrong way down the street. Is there a special sign you are supposed to hang from your rearview mirror? Don’t hold it up when you think the teacher is looking… hang up the damn sign. School administrators, architects, teachers, and all sorts of people have set this up so that the flow of traffic happens a certain way for good reason. Cars aren’t the only thing driving around the building when school lets out. There are big yellow school buses, daycare vans, and even walkers. If you disrupt the flow of traffic, you not only piss everyone off, but you actually risk the chance of causing a major accident. Follow the rules, goober.

Number of Seatbelts in the Car=Number of Kids in the Car


I can’t believe I even have to mention this, but you would be amazed at how many people pull up with like sixteen kids in a mini cooper and expect me to pile one more child in there. Look, I know the rules, and that traffic cop sitting at the end of the line who looks bored out of his mind? So does he–and he’s just waiting on an excuse to do something fun. Please don’t make me aide and abet you in your heinous crime, k?

Put Out the Cigarette, Please


I really don’t care if you smoke. That’s your own business, and you can do whatever you want. But, this is a school zone, and I have to open up your car and shove your kid in there. Can you seriously not stop chain smoking long enough to get through the carpool line? The very second you drive off school property, go right ahead and light up, but please give me a break with that crap. I already have a headache from standing out in the 102 degree weather with whiny children. Oh, and that traffic cop that just let that lady drive by with 96 kids in her Jetta? He might just pull you over--because that’s against the law, too.

Get OFF Your Cell Phone!


I don’t know if you realize this or not, but your kid has been at school for like seven hours, and they are really excited to see you. When you can’t even take the minute and a half to ask them about their day because you’re too busy blabbering on about the affair your next door neighbor is having with her pool guy, your kid is being ignored–and I might just have something important to say while I am helping your kid get buckled in. It might be something simple like, “Sally was a rockstar helper today. I am very impressed with her attention to detail when cleaning up.” OR it might be something heinous like, “Is there any way I can get you to park over there so we can have a little chat?” Either way–you’re being rude to your kid and your kid’s teacher. Both will like you a little less for it.

I know that’s quite a bit to remember, so let me just sum it up for you–stop whatever it is you have going on in your life and take twenty minutes to pick up your kid. Pay attention to your surroundings, and if someone flips you off or calls you a douchebag–you’re probably not handling the pick up line the right way.

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  1. Hahaha love it Jamie! Unfortunately where I live its still legal to drive, talk, n text on a cell phone. STUPID!! About 95% of the students at the school where my boys go are bused so we don't seem to have that
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..Welcome September! =-.

  2. At my son’s school we are not allowed to park and walk in, but the other stuff applies. Most of the carpool people are sweet and follow the rules. The only problem is when a DAD gets to the line (which starts on a nearby street about 1/2 hour before the line even starts moving) and decides for whatever reason “that can’t be the line” and drives right on past and pulls into the front. My husband did this once when I was in the hospital. I looked at him when he told me and he said, “Some woman got out of her car and explained the procedure to me.” I told him, “Never mess with carpool moms.” I’ve see the principal (who directs the kids to the right car) actually ask someone who snuck into line while it was driving through the only intersection it goes through if they snuck in and then told them in no uncertain terms they had to go to the back of the line next time!
    .-= Nancy the Romancechi´s last blog ..Friday Reading =-.

  3. Exactly! Love the illustrations! I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with this any more.

    Another important point is – Wait your turn! All students were picked up at the front door of the school, and there was room for about 3 cars to stop and load up at once. As long as the line kept moving, things were great, but let one of those 3 cars leave before the other ones, and some parent from the back of the line would take that as her cue to pull out of line and pass everyone else who was waiting and cut right to the front – because obviously she and her child were more important than all the other parents and children who had been waiting longer. The same thing happened at drop off – repeatedly. Once I even had someone in such a hurry that she passed me and cut in front of me so she could let her kid off first – and then she just sat there and watched him walk into the building, instead of moving on.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Heads or Tails – Yellow =-.

  4. Hahaha love it Jamie! Unfortunately where I live its still legal to drive, talk, n text on a cell phone. STUPID!! About 95% of the students at the school where my boys go are bused so we don’t seem to have that
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..Welcome September! =-.

  5. As of today it is illegal to use a cell phone in a school zone, unless it is hands free.

    Good tips. Our school does things a tiny bit differently, but overall the same. What bugs me is the parents who get in the pickup line, but then park the car and get out and wait for their kid! If you were going to get out, go ahead and park in the lot for that purpose! Don’t get in a moving line and then get out of your car! Drives me crazy, but then I’m a devoted rule follower.
    .-= nicole´s last blog ..Not That You Asked =-.