School routines, especially time in the car, set the tone for how we begin and end the school day. We have four children attending three different schools. We carpool with neighbors, each responsible for different days, start and pick up times, and ages. Our children range from middle to elementary school and preschool and nursery. I actually created a spreadsheet to ensure a kiddo or two was not left behind or unaccounted for.
While the carpool line is not my favorite place to be, I have come to realize that I can either embrace the crazy and find the rainbow or give into the anxiety and stress, leaving me short on patience and not my best mama self. I’ve decided to embrace the crazy. And I’m happier for it.
It took until week two of school for me to settle into our routine and realize the time in the car with my children and their friends is valuable time. These sacred minutes are MINE to prepare them for the seven hours ahead, leaving them with the encouragement they are loved, safe, respected and valued. Here’s what I have learned from early morning and afternoon carpool.
Kids are FUNNY
Booger conversations and unpleasant noises aside, hearing elementary kids recite the day is comical and a stress relief in itself. You never know what they will say.
Kids are more insightful than we give them credit for
Our conversations have ranged from terrorism reflecting on 9/11, theology, and natural disasters, all within a 20-minute time frame. This is valuable peer processing and time for gentle correction if facts are not accurate. Sound too deep or like something that would never occur on your car ride? Trust me, our kids are talking about these things. Count it a privilege to be privy to it.
Our children have good hearts and unwavering friendships
One of the carpools I drive includes my son and his best friend, both of whom have special needs. They openly talk about their special differences and how that makes them uniquely awesome. There is a frequent and beautiful dialog that is both humorous and humbling.
Our kids are often the best teachers
Whether it’s helping a friend buckle up or high-fiving them for acing a spelling test, our kids aren’t bound by overscheduled calendars or rushed time constraints. Embracing the moment is a gift and I’m thankful to witness the subtle reminders from the little people in my backseat.
Moms, I encourage you to see the morning routine as a blessing. Turn the music up loud and sing whatever is on Kidzbop or turn the music down and listen to the precious conversations between the minds and hearts of the children we steward. Have an older carpool crew? Grab a quick treat and drive and listen. Side-by-side conversation with your child initiating and leading is magical. Celebrate good behavior, grades, acts of kindness, or whatever you choose to focus on that week during your commute.