Manners Matter in your child’s school carpool lane

Daily Record/Sunday News file photo

Daily Record/Sunday News file photo

This week, while my son was picking out his Monsters University lunchbox for his first day of kindergarten, I realized how close we are to getting to back-to-school time.

Summer vacation is now more than halfway over for us, so I was inspired to start a “Back to School” series filled with useful etiquette tips, tricks and manners that matter for a successful school year!

Let’s begin with carpool manners and school drop-off/pick-up lane rules of etiquette and courtesy.

Smart tips for drivers

Drivers need to establish the boundaries for the school carpool from the very first day.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will you allow eating/drinking in your car?
  2. What will happen if someone continually makes you late?
  3. How often will you and the other parents take turns driving the carpool?
  4. Will non-driving parents need to contribute gas money? If yes, how much and how often?

Once you have answered those questions, ensure all other parents are aware of the rules of the carpool.

It is very important to remember to promptly contact all parents participating the carpool if you are unable to drive on your designated day.

Smart tips for passengers

Ask the driver of the carpool some of those same questions to understand their expectations.

  1. Will my child be allowed to eat a snack or drink a beverage in their car?
  2. How often would they like to rotate the drivers of the carpool?
  3. If I am unable to drive for the carpool may I give gas money in lieu of driving to remain a member of the carpool? If yes, how much and how often?

Once you have the answers to these questions, sit down with your child and explain your expectations of their behavior as well as the boundaries the driver has set.

It is very important to remember to alert the driver if your child is not attending school on a given day.

Smart tips for the school drop-off/pick-up line

I want to empower parents with all of the proper do’s for dropping off and picking up. Follow these easy tips for a stress-free drop-off/pick-up experience all school year long!

DO follow the established traffic pattern. Schools will have the desired traffic pattern marked for the first few weeks.

DO keep children buckled and seated until it is time for them to exit the car.

DO turn off your cellphone while driving. In the drop-off/pick-up lane with teachers and students walking about you want to remain 100 percent alert for everyone’s safety.

DO help the environment and turn the car off when parked waiting for the line to get moving.

DO set a good example: Be patient, polite and courteous to your fellow drivers.

DO help to keep the line moving. If you must speak with one of the other parents or a faculty member, utilize the parking spaces.

DO refer to your child’s student handbook for his or her school’s specific rules and drop-off/pick-up procedures.

Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas is a certified etiquette trainer from Sparkle and Shine Modeling and Etiquette program at GYDance. For more information on Thomas and the program, visit Greater York Dance's website,

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2 Responses

  1. August 14, 2013

    […] Last time, we kicked off a three-part “Back-to-School” series where we discussed proper manners for carpooling to school. […]

  2. August 20, 2013

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