Things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line

Things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line
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Things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line

The elementary school that my daughter attends is officially a kindergarten through fifth grade school.  There are approximately 80 students per grade.  This number is pretty average, but our school has other programs too.  With all the other programs they have there are about 500 students.

Why is this information important?

It’s simple. I spend at least 15 and sometimes 30 minutes a day waiting to pick my daughter up due to the poor configuration of the school.  I wrote about this last year in my blog post #FanDayFriday: Mom Advice for the school year.  The original school building I think only had one classroom per grade.  Since opening they’ve added at least 5 extra classrooms on one side of the school and another 3 on the other side.  The extra students were not accounted for when they designed the parking lot and definitely not when they figured out how the flow of traffic would enter and exit said parking lot.

This means that I head to school for an early release day at 1:30 pick up between 12:30 and 12:45 so that I can park in line waiting for school to get out instead of being stuck on the street waiting in line.  It seems crazy to show up so early.  In reality though, if I get in and get out I actually don’t waste my time as much as you would think.

In response to this practice I’ve come up with a #fridayfive list of  things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line.

Bill Paying

With the invention of the iPhone I’m able to pay my bills while I wait in line for my daughter at school.  I know.  I know.  It doesn’t sound like the most fun things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line.  Look at the title of this post.  I didn’t specify FUN THINGS TO DO, but rather just THINGS TO DO.  Paying bills, while not fun for most people, is however efficient use of this time in my eyes.

Figure it this way…

If I’m home on the couch, do I really want to waste my time paying bills?  A better time to take care of this is when I’m (voluntarily) stuck in my vehicle for a period of time.  Also if I set a reminder to pay my bills at this time of day every day, I am more likely to pay those bills on time!  Some people do this type of “status check” in the early morning, but for me, my pick up line time is the perfect time to check my to-do list and accomplish a lot of my HAVE TO’s vs. my WANT TO’s on my list.


While this is number two on this list, since I made it alphabetically, really this is the first thing I thought of when coming up with this list of things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line.  I’m pretty much known as the mom who always has my crafting bag with me.  Many times when I lose my bag at home I find it in my vehicle’s front seat,

Why crafting in the car?

The most convincing answer is: This is one of the only times of the day where my attention is uninterrupted.  Yes, towards the time where the kids stream out of the school to get in cars, I have to move up in line, but basically there is a good 15-30 minutes of time where I’m basically parked and don’t have to pay attention to anything else.

My craft of choice is crochet, but knitting or drawing or even jewelry making could be something you could probably set up comfortably on the center consule or front seat of your car.  Hand sewing something would be a good one too, but I don’t have to tell you that bigger items like machine sewing or painting aren’t really suitable for the front seats of the car.

Personal Development

Writing for fun or in a journal and reading seem to be popular when thinking of things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line.  The front seat of my car is where I came up my Mommy’s Mid-Life Quest Facebook page. Again, this is a great time to concentrate and do something uninterrupted.  As far as personal development goes, this time is great for calming my mind and really taking in the information in front of me without distraction.

Earlier this year I made it a habit to listen to a personal development/motivational podcast while waiting in line.  During this exploration of things I could watch or listen to on my phone I even have gone through the videos from YaleCourses for Intro to Psychology.   Who knew I could actually “attend a college class” while I’m waiting in the pick up line?

Quality time with Other Kids

I shouldn’t have to remind myself to spend quality time with my son.  This year I chose #quality as my word of the year.  As far as things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line, talking to my son is definitely something I try to do.  He’s still in a harness seat belt.  He’s stuck.  For a very active 4 year old this is an excuse for him to sit still and talk to me.  Of course I supply him with some kinds of entertainment, but with those distractions limited, it’s a great time to really get to know him.

We practice the ABCs.  I ask him about school.  Sometimes I even let him sit in the front seat for a while and we play with his cars and trucks.  As he gets older we will play “I Spy”.  This is a great car game in general.  We’ve played it on the way down to the beach for vacation A LOT!

“I spy with my little eye, something blue!”

“Is it the sky?”

“Is it your shirt?”

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for please is probably one of the most popular things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line.  When else in your day can you justify reading a trashy romance novel?  Or a good murder mystery to take you away from the confines of the front seat of your car?  When I look through the windows of my fellow line-mates I often find people reading books or staring at their phones.  I want to assume by the look on their faces that they are reading something for fun.  Most of them seem happy in what they are looking at.

Why it’s important to have things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line?

Finding things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line may save you from getting in an accident.

TRUE STORY!  Last year during one of my pick up sessions someone actually fell asleep at the wheel.  He was in the line of traffic waiting to go into the school.  As I passed he was leaned up against the driver side window asleep!  I can only assume that he’d turned off his engine.  I pray that he thought to set the emergency break.  Isn’t that a scary thought that someone would fall asleep that way?

There you have it.  My list of things to do when you’re stuck in the pick up line.  Feel free to take these activities and apply them to any time where you’re stuck waiting in line.  I’ve used many of these at the DMV, dentist or doctor.  It’s amazing when you think about how much time you waste.  This list is great for me to apply #quality to my life. I know I can spend that wasted time in more useful ways!

How do you spend those extra minutes of your day waiting in line?   Do you use any of these suggestions? I’d love to know!


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About Patty Gordon 383 Articles
Mommy Blogger | Patty Gordon California SAHM: 📚educating the littles. 🍷living an enriched mom life. 📝sharing product reviews. 💌 Find more at my blog:

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