Check me out … my kids have not been late for school at all this year! Also, check me out … 80% of those times I have done the school run in my PJs. Of course, I’m kidding! It’s more like 90%.
The thing is, I am not a morning person. I give myself a gold star for getting the kids out the door and off to school with at least 30 seconds to spare before the bell. If I had to do it fully dressed and presentable then stress levels would be a lot higher. And because morning traffic and school drop offs can be a touch on the crazy side, I can do without the additional stress.
The crazy world of school drop off
In June 2018, a poll by stuff.co.nz asked people, “Does the way we drop our children off at school need to change?” The resounding answer, from almost three quarters of respondents was, “Yes. Traffic around schools is a nightmare.”
Whether it’s traffic jams, double parking, cars blocking driveways, difficulty in finding a parking space, or hazardous driving from parents, a lot of schools seem to have an issue with the chaos that is the school run. There have been reports of aggression, naming and shaming, assaults, and even people threatening to run others over!
It’s not just the drop off either. The prime real estate of a parking space near the school has led some parents to arrive for the pick up after school up to an hour early.
So what’s the solution?
The solution to most of these issues is seemingly obvious – get kids out of the cars. To aid in reducing congestion, kids can:
- Scooter or skateboard
- Join a walking bus
- Take public transport
- Travel on the school bus
For this to work, there has to be a big buy-in by the parents just as much as the kids. But there are many issues around a lot of those options including safety, availability and convenience.
At my kids school a system was introduced to encourage kids to walk to school, even if it was just the final few hundred metres. Two sites with pouwhenua (carved wooden posts) were set up nearby with footpath access to the school. They were manned by students who would hand out tickets to kids who passed the pouwhenua before and after school. The tickets could be redeemed for school stationery once enough had been collected. Parents could still drive their kids to school if necessary but without the congestion at the school gate.
Has your child’s school come up with a solution to alleviate the traffic issues around drop off and pick up times? Let us know in the comments below.
As bad as your school run may be, at least it (probably) isn’t anything like this …
PS. This was just an experiment to try and solve drop off issues – it failed.
For more information on safe journeys for children, see the Hike it, Bike it, Scoot it, Skate it guide on the NZTA website.
Read more on Kidspot:
- How to motivate your family to be active
- Keeping kids active during winter
- Get a workout at the playground