With back-to-school in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about setting up a carpool routine. Carpooling is such an easy way to live a little greener each day and if done right, it can really make for great friendships and save you some precious time over the school year.
When you set up your carpool, think first about the logistics and how this will affect your daily life. Keep it in the neighborhood if possible. While the thought of carpooling with your child’s best friend may sound like a good idea initially, if that family lives even a mile away, this could be the difference between an on-time arrival and being pegged the late kid everyday. Trust me, your daughter will never forgive you! You should also make sure that the children you are carpooling with are well-behaved (to an extent, all kids get rowdy when you add more to the mix!). And make sure your parenting style compliments that of your carpool buddy. You’d be surprised at how many children rule the roost and that may not be a good thing for your kids to be exposed to. It’s always a good idea to go over safety rules in your car and give other parents your permission to enforce the rules of their car.
OK, so now that you have your carpool established, let’s go over some tips for your daily routine:
Make sure your kids are ready to go and waiting for their carpool to arrive in the am. It’s a tight ship in the morning, every spare minute counts. Last minute potty breaks are the worst way to start your day! We always pack our backpacks/snack bags the night before to make morning routine easy-breezy. This is not the time for chit-chat. You can catch up with your carpool buddy later on in the day. Again, every spare minute counts.
You may have some free time while waiting for carpool lines to start. I always use this time to return phone calls, but remember once the carpool line starts moving at school, you must stay off the phone. All of your attention needs to be on the children and the lines. You never know when a little one may dart out in front of your car. This is also a good time to bring a good book or catch up with your carpool buddies who you couldn’t chat with in the am. Make sure you always pay attention to the carpool cops. You need a masters degree in engineering to fully understand our elementary school carpool patterns. These people know what they’re doing and need every inch of space in the lot. So observe and follow the rules! Once the kids arrive, seat the kids who will be dropped off first closest to the car doors. This will make drop-offs run seamlessly.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to have a smooth ride throughout the school year. Be strategic and find the right family for you. There’s nothing worse than a carpool break-up since you see these people day in and day out.
Do you have any carpool tips to share? We’d love to hear them!
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