The importance of the morning drop-off
The morning drop-off – an activity that seems so mundane for most parents yet its importance cannot be trivialised by the burden of the logistics that is involved in its implementation. The drop-off itself can be at the bus stop, in person with the parent driving in, or even with the child being chauffeured in. Either way, the time spent with the child in the early morning hours is truly invaluable.
The research behind the benefits of the morning drop-off is scarce at best. However, I have had the good fortune of dropping my children off to school on most days of their school careers. Hence, this blog is based on the anecdotal evidence I have gathered as a father over the last 17 years of school drop-offs. Today, my eldest is at university and my youngest is a couple of years away from graduating from school, and as I look back on their education journey, some of the best moments I have had with them have been during drop-offs. Similarly for my wife, some of her best moments with the children have been during school pick-ups. The purpose of this blog is not to reduce the importance of the school pick-up but to share insights into the benefits I have gained as a parent during drop-offs.
As soon as our eldest was ready for nursery, my wife and I had an agreement that I would do the morning drop-offs and she would do the afternoon pick-ups. The one caveat to this unwritten agreement was when I had to travel: in those situations, she would take responsibility for both unless I could manage a drop-off on the way to the airport. However, despite my hectic travel schedule I have managed to do the bulk of the morning drop-offs and seen the benefits listed below:
- Father-son time: My job not only involves a lot of travel, it also often involves work over weekends. The 20 minutes in the car is my time of uninterrupted bonding with my children.
- Staying up to date on current affairs: I always made it a point to discuss one topic that was on the front page of the newspapers. If there was nothing of interest, sports discussions were always welcome!
- Great opportunity for learning: The car ride was always a great opportunity for my sons to share their learning with me and to ask for support if required.
- Listening to music: There were times when my sons were in no mood to talk and in that case there was always the radio! In the early days, we used to listen to Dubai FM92 and I remember once participating in a competition over speakerphone as I drove them to school and winning Dhs. 1000 worth of Marks and Spencer’s vouchers! It was such an exciting moment for us!
- The goodbye itself: The process of wishing my sons goodbye was special in itself. As they jumped out of the car with their school bags, there was always either a “good luck” if there was a test or an exam or a “have a great day”. In so many ways this goodbye greeting felt like my support would be with them throughout the school day.
At Arcadia, it is such a joy to see so many parents dropping off their children every morning. Even those that come in by the school bus have their own experiences of being dropped off at the bus stop by a parent or sharing with their peers while coming into the school. A child’s learning starts well before he or she arrives at school. As parents, if you have the opportunity to be with them during drop-offs, my recommendation is to welcome it with open arms!
The school drop off is so important, it’s a real undisturbed bonding time… I lived in London when my kids went to school… my daughter is mildly autistic… in England the state provides transport with an escort for special needs kids… I did not use the transport provided, I did the drop off & pick up myself. If the child has had a bad day you know it immediately.
Parents who are able to do the drop offs & pick ups please do so… one day you will realise the importance.
Even into college the drop off pick up / visits are too so very important to my wife and I and our four children.
It seems only yesterday when they each started kindergarten and the live and pride and connection between us all exits still to today
This is going down memory lane for me right now as I did the same every morning 15 years ago even though we had the school bus coming to pick them up, My son , daughter and our dog rode to choueifat every morning, it was a good 20 minutes drive , at times they were grumpy for whatever reasons (lack of sleep or test coming up)but by the time we reached school they would be lightened up by our little anecdotes n especially on a thursday, they would be making plans for the weekend………So grab the moment and you will be surprised as to how much information comes in from them , even if they are silent , they tell u a lot.
I agree, in fact I would go further to say that spending any quality time with your child/children should be a priority before they get older and busy in their own lives. I have met many parents who wished they had spent more time with their children when growing up as that time never returns.
I have also met many adults who wished as children that their parents spent more time with them growing up!
It certainly shapes a child and affects them in their adult life, the time they spend with parents.
My message is to cherish it as soon it will only become a memory
I still have vivid memories of the time I spent with my father, dropping and collecting me from school etc, sadly he passed away over 10 years ago but I still get tears thinking about those days…
I hope as a father that I am able to maximise the time with my kids..I do try to but often end up getting angry or stressed at them then later realising – what was the need to be so angry/stressed!