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!