The insane school run

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:

  • Walk
  • Cycle
  • Scooter or skateboard
  • Join a walking bus
  • Take public transport
  • Travel on the school bus
  • Carpool

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Bevik1971 27/06/2018 at 2:14 pm

    OMG I can’t even imagine living in a place so big that you need to have special lanes for drop offs! I hate traffic and even when it’s busy here I can’t stand it haha. So I need to get up and get ready for work as I start at 9.00am (lucky), so we don’t usually have to rush too much, however we do need to leave fairly early to get a park near the school as we can’t drop and run as our daughter is only 5 (and won’t be doing that for a while either). But parking is a nightmare as her school is right beside a Boy’s High and there is a cluster of high schools in the blocks surrounding.

  2. Mands1980 26/06/2018 at 1:08 pm

    We are at a small rural school my children get the bus in the morning and I pick them up for after school activities we are lucky as we are small there is plenty of parking but can imagine the chaos of some town schools and parents getting grumpy at others.

  3. MuddledUpMolly 25/06/2018 at 9:15 pm

    We are fortunate to live in a rural area with our son’s school literally just around the corner! We can make it with a minute to spare, or 60, knowing there will be plenty of parks and almost no traffic ūüôā

  4. Shorrty4life1 25/06/2018 at 5:46 pm

    My child is quite new to her new school so she likes me to drop her off at the classroom and wait until the bell rings before I go. Picking her up is a nightmare but drop off is fine for finding car parking. Picking up I get there 30 minutes early due to picking my son up from kindy at 2.30 and we have to walk ages just to get a car park it’s insane and people can be quite rude with parking.

  5. kymmage 20/06/2018 at 8:10 pm

    Our school has the issue of many parents parking on yellow lines, or going into driveways to drop and back out from. They have tried involving the police and all sorts. It’s a tough one. I personally park a few hundred metres away and walk my kids in if it’s my morning for drop off. However, it’s not great if you are differently abled either!

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