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Ideas On How To Use The Time Waiting In The Dreaded Car Line To Surprise Your Children

Updated on October 5, 2016

Post-It Message

A great way to surprise your child with post it notes!
A great way to surprise your child with post it notes!

The time is drawing closer and closer. My stomach starts to churn, my head is already beginning to pound, and my palms start sweating in the anticipation of the on coming rush out the door. I hurry to grab my purse and load my three year old, who is half asleep, in the car. I quickly race over to my daughter’s school only to stop short and join my place in the dreaded car line. Here I will wait for up to an hour with the hot sun beating down on my vehicle insuring that I will not be able to turn the car off to conserve gas. I will watch as the gas tank needle slowly begins its descent downward as the car makes no forward progress. I look around to see the other parents just sitting, waiting joining the metallic snake that is looped around the elementary school anticipating the arrival of their young.

If you are like me, waiting in car line has become a necessary evil that I’m guessing must be there to teach us the importance of patience. After only one week of school, I have become bored with my usual means of occupying myself during this time: solitaire and restaurant story on my phone or checking Facebook every 15.7 seconds hoping someone has updated their status. I have tried reading a book in the car but after having to inch forward about 2 feet every minute, I find I can’t concentrate on the story and I grow frustrated with having to constantly find my place on the page again. So as I let my mind begin to wander, thankful my son is now fast asleep and can’t be as bored as I am, I thought of a few new ideas that we as parents could implement to make car line a little more interesting. Below you will find my exciting list of car line activities organized by days of the week.

Feeling beachy!
Feeling beachy!

Mad Hatter Mondays

Let’s show some team spirit or a little creativity by wearing some form of hat. For the more daring I would recommend something crazy that would be sure to draw attention, like a princess crown or a hat of your own making. Please refer to the picture for an example. For the less adventurous, as football season draws closer this is a good time to support whichever team you prefer.

Topsy Turvy Tuesdays

Now is the day to begin to draw a little more attention to yourself. Topsy Turvy Tuesdays is all about wearing a top that is sure to be noticed. Think along the lines of a cheesy Christmas sweater in September or your own puffy paint creation that is sure to be noticed. Again for the less daring, a sports team shirt would also be acceptable. Not in the mood to change up what you are wearing, then I recommend a new hairstyle. Some great examples would be a Pippi Longstocking look or breaking out the old crimper for a wavy new do.

A knight in shining armor going to save his sister.
A knight in shining armor going to save his sister.

Wacky Wednesdays

These days are all about letting yourself really go crazy. Some great ideas would be costumes of your choosing or face painting if the mood strikes. Look around the house and I bet you can find a lot of great material for Wednesday. Who doesn’t have an old 80’s prom dress just lying around begging to be worn again? Who hasn’t wanted to throw on their husband’s clothes and see how the other half feels on a daily basis? Again for the less bold who would like to participate, there are some ideas for you too. Dress up the other siblings in costume who ride along with you and just tell them you are playing pretend. I bet they would love to surprise their brother or sister with a cow costume!

Thankful Thursdays

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” -- William James

I decided we need to throw a day in there to show our appreciation for those who take care of our children while they are away from us. The only people who have it worse than we do during car line are the teachers and staff at the school. They are in 90 degree weather, at least in Florida where we live, sweating profusely while helping whether it is during a normal afternoon thunderstorm or sunny day with a smile on their face. They deserve some gratitude for the job they do. So next Thursday put a cooler in your car with ice cold waters and hand them out as you go. Maybe one day you can pass out ice pops because remember how good those are and they can be bought for really cheap. Another idea is to pick a different staff member each Thursday and get them a $5 gift card to Starbucks or even just a simple thank you card would be so appreciated. Grab some ponchos on the next trip to the dollar store and hand them out on rainy days. There are a lot of ways to show how grateful you are without spending a lot of money. It would be great to get the kids involved too. You can have them make cards or other simple home made thank you items to teach the importance of gratitude.

Keeping Score

Number of long lingering stares
Verbal acknowledgement: Positve or Negative
Number of other particpants

Fun Filled Fridays

Fridays are about showing your child how much you care in a very public way. Decorate their car window on the outside with such phrases as Great Job On Your Test! or I Love You So Much. If you think your child would never speak to you again because of this then you can always decorate the inside of their window instead. Another great idea is to get balloons and put them on the seat or even outside the car for a more festive look. Let it be a day where you do something to make your child feel special and loved. Another great Friday idea is what I like to call car pool karaoke. This is where you turn the radio up to a somewhat acceptable level and sing loudly to your favorite songs. See how many other parents you can get to join in for more fun.

Now some of you are asking, so I dress silly and then what? What is the purpose of doing this? For me and people with a competitive nature, it’s all about seeing which ideas get the most reaction. Buy a regular notebook and make a chart where you can record the day, what the craziness you did was, and the reaction from it. Try to out do yourself and get other parents involved to see who can out do each other. Or it can just simply be something you do to break up the day and a way to entertain yourself and your children. If nothing else, adopt Thankful Thursdays because it not only sets a good example to your children but I guarantee you will get as much out of it as the teachers do.


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    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks teaches!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      What a great idea! I only wish I knew this when my child was in school. I can remember the many times I waited and this would have made it a better experience for both of us.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for sharing Vellur!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Awesome, creative and entertaining. Voted up and shared. Great write, enjoyed reading.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Linda and Becky! I don't know what I would do if there was no internet on my phone by the school. It would definitely change my plans. Plucking eyebrows is a great idea!

    • Rfordin profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Um I thought I was the only mom in the whole wide world that saw this waiting as a COMPLETE nussiance! Grrr....every day at 2:30 I too am immensed in the "line" at my daughter's elementry school EXCEPT my internet on my phone does NOT work because of the firewall around the school..... So I read, (I've recently taken to plucking my eyebrows tho), make important phone calls (that I've put off the rest of the day of course) and WAIT an hour or so till the line starts moving. I've never thought of doing these cute little things you mention....hmmm

      Thanks for sharing.


    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Fabulous ideas once again!

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you cygnetbrown!

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 

      6 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      I'm so glad my daughter rides the bus! I love the creative ways you use your time!

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for the comment! It can be very frustrating day in and day out so I need a way to distract myself. Love the idea for the hub:)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      You offered some great ideas jen! My granddaughter started kindergarten this month and luckily we live close enough to walk to pick her up and on rainy days there is a church parking lot we could park in and walk to get her. I see those parents in the cars, my heart goes out to them. Ya think they would implement an easier way to pick up kids from school. Keep using your clever imagination, you never know how many hub ideas you could come up with. 25 Ways Not to Go Postal In the Pick Up Line. I'm a bad influence, but you get my idea :)

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks denisemai. They changed dismissal policies this year and it went from a 15 minute wait to up to an hour on bad days. It does give me lots of time to think though!

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Funny! I can't imagine waiting in a car that long. That could certainly drive a gal to crazy ideas! I always used to park far away, get out, and chat with other waiting moms. So I suppose if I followed your dress code I'd really get noticed! I think I'd go for Mad Hatter Mondays. ;-)

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks heart expressions. My favorite too.

    • heartexpressions profile image


      6 years ago

      Very funny! I think I probably only have the courage to try Thankful Thursdays.


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