How to Navigate ANY School Parking Lot

What every parent should know but everyone is afraid to tell you!

Navigate the Parking Lot

Alright parents, it’s almost time to get back in the Parking Lot Groove. You know exactly what I mean, school is starting and the parents at your school need you to learn how to navigate the parking lot, STAT. And in the interest of parking lot peace I’ve compiled a list of great solutions every parent I’ve ever talked to about school parking lot woes wants you to know!

Here we go:

  • Know Your Parking Lot–Obviously parking and drop off vary school to school and every school I’ve ever been to has a parking lot plan. Yes for parents. Yes you can get a copy of it or get it explained to you. Yes your should familiarize yourself with it, for all of us. Maybe go to the school and see how the lot is set up before the year even starts, look for one way signs, crosswalks, and drop off lanes. And know how it’s going to work before it’s 3 minutes until the bell rings and you’re not even sure which row is a one way and you completely block traffic. Parking Lot Plan.
  • Parking Lot Face–Get one. That person who parks crookedly might just be the one you are depending on to run your class booth for the Halloween Carnival, if you evil eye them now you might just be working that booth alone. Find a smile that doesn’t say “you’re doing it wrong” and that also doesn’t say “you’re doing it right.” You’ve got to find one that lets them know you’re kind, even if their crappy parking spot took up TWO FULL SPOTS. It’s all about balance here, so practice your parking lot smile in the mirror until you’ve perfected the “I see what you did,I still respect you as a person but learn to freaking park” look.
  • PULL UP to Drop Off–This one gets me right in the heart. As well as every other parent I know who utilizes the drop off line, PULL UP and fill in all that empty space. If in doubt pull up, if your crossing guard ushers you forward PULL UP. Pull ALL THE WAY UP, literally as far as you can, those 10 extra steps for your kids are nothing compared to the parent in the rear who can’t quite squeeze up because you didn’t PULL UP.
  • Park It–When you Pull all the Way Up put your car in park. Yes, it seems silly to say but I’ve seen quite a few –oops my foot slipped off the brake and I rolled forward sort of “accidents” — It happens, so park it and save yourself that headache.
  • Walk Your Kids In–If your kids can’t unbuckle their seatbelt/car seat and get out of the car by themselves you don’t belong in the drop off lane. PERIOD. Park, get them out and walk them in. Even if it’s just to the door. Nothing will ruin a drop off line quicker than a parent who pulls up, preferably to the spot only in front of the door, gets out, unbuckles a couple of kids, hugs each of them dearly, consoles one who’s upset, roots around for a missing boot and the lost ark while they’re at it.
  • Stop Parking There–Yes the handicap spot, the fire lane, the blocked off spot that stops traffic, all of those “parking spaces” are off limits to every parent. Unless you’ve got a official handicap placard then you can park in the handicap spot. Everyone else? You are not special. You don’t deserve that spot. No one should ever think a fire lane spot is a good place to park, especially at a school, where your kids attend. And where you are making an impression of a couple of hundred kids all at once.

Why do I feel qualified to talk about this subject? I’ve been navigating school parking lots for 18 years, I can’t even fathom how many hours out of my life that is. Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Charter School, Alternative School, you name it, I’ve driven it. And one thing parents far and wide complain about is the parking lot and the drop off lane at school. So I thought I’d compile a list of whats makes parents nuts, what could make it better, and share it. Maybe if we’re all on the same page then we’re all on the same page?


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