How to Make Drop Off and Pick Up More Personal

During this pandemic, drop off and pick up looks completely different than what it once was. We used to see parents all the time coming in and out, having small talk over coffee, and taking their time to catch up on life. Not anymore. Now, we are wearing masks, keeping our distance, and not allowing parents in the building. It’s important to find ways to still make those brief moments in person personable and relational.

Here are some ways to help bridge the gap between parents seeing their child’s teacher every day to how it is for now:

Have friendly, outgoing, and extroverted staff assisting at drop off and pick up!

Parents are on high alert right now and pull out of your parking lot every day hoping their children are safe. The best way to ease their stress is to reassure them each day at drop off and pick up, even if they are sitting in their car with a mask!  Make sure that whoever is approaching the car is friendly, outgoing, and easy to talk to. This should be someone who knows how to keep it short but not feel rushed.

Have lead teachers get into the rotation.

Each day, rotate a lead teacher to be the one who brings the kids out to the car along with your other support staff. Parents miss seeing their child’s teacher, so having him/her bring the students to their car at pick up time will help parents get that extra touch of care. Teachers do not need to have mini conferences, but just saying one thing about each child’s day will add their special touch.

Verbally share important information from their daily report at pick up.

Be sure to write thorough reports each day and send that report when the student is checked out. This will help parents feel like they know what is happening. Any incident or important part of the day should be spoken about verbally at pick up time in person. It’s important to say at least one personal thing about each child just like you would do under normal circumstances in the classroom at pickup, like “Johnny shared so nicely today with his friends,” or, “Alison helped a friend in the art center today.” This is another way parents can tell that you care.

Assist parents with rough drop offs!

Another helpful way to make drop off easier is to assist when children have a hard time separating. Figure out who is the best person to get certain children, be friendly with the children, and try to do it quickly so you can not prolong it. If you allow the child to cry and refuse to come out, this will cause stress and most likely make the parent late for work. Help parents out by being extra bubbly, quick with exiting the car, and animated to distract the child.

Be extra hospitable!

Something that our center does to add the extra touch of care is that we purchased oversized umbrellas, and we use them to walk the students in and out of the building. When a parent is carrying an infant, we always offer to carry their belongings and help them to their car. This makes all the difference to parents when we go the extra mile.

Small, yet meaningful talk.

The bottom line is that it is important for parents to know that you care beyond the time their children are in your care. By asking personal, yet appropriate questions at drop off or pickup will make a big difference for parents. This doesn’t have to be the director; although most parents like to see a director who is present. 

The best way to show love through your mask is to go the extra mile in everything you do. That means calling up a parent just to tell them their child is amazing. That means asking them questions about their life and then following up on that question to show you care. And that means verbalizing more and varying the people who do the drop off and pick ups so that your friendly, personable and relational staff are doing the brief, yet meaningful moments at the beginning and ending of each day. 

What are some ways you’re making drop off and pick up easier and more personable? Let us know so we can continue to make notes of what is working well.

Missy Knechel

Missy is a professor in the early childhood department at Eastern University and director of Victory Early Learning Academy, a childcare center that she started ten years ago. Prior to that, she taught Kindergarten and second grade for a total of 10 years. She has been married to her best friend, Jason, for 18 years, and together they have four beautiful children ages 8, 9, 12 and 13 in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. In her spare time, Missy loves to bake, read historical fiction, sing karaoke and travel to Central America on short term missions.