How To Minimize After School Insanity: The School Pick Up Line Prayer

By November 18, 2013General

3:00pm – 3:10pm. I call it The Gauntlet.

The 10 minutes after I pick my kids up from school are some of the craziest minutes of the day.

They all have the verbal stomach flu. The words don’t stay down. All their weariness and emotion from the day comes bursting out the moment they get into the car. Everyone has something to say, right now, and it’s really, really, really, really, really, really important.

I have to somehow decide who was talking first, help them take turns and try to prevent WWIII from breaking out before the minivan door slides closed, shielding the rest of the world from the shrapnel of emotional overload.

Now, it’s not like this every day. Most days are simple and fun and easy, but I never know when a Gauntlet Day will hit, so I want to arrive fully prepared.

I’ve started the habit of praying as I sit and wait in the school pickup line. Something like this:


God is so faithful to change my focus and give me His wisdom and insight into each child’s need. A simple prayer and I’m ready. Bring it.

Is it crazy in your car (or home) in those first few minutes after school? How do you tame the insanity? Click here to join the discussion.

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  • Jeannie says:

    This is fabulous ! I need to write a prayer like this to pray over the start of our days and our homeschool times. Thank you for inspiring me.

  • Melissa Q says:

    Oh, I’m not the only one??? I can’t tell you the timeliness of this post. I have had the roughest afternoon – all starting with school pick-up. My oldest is having the toughest time adjusting to full-day kindergarten. He manages a compliant, pleasant heart all school day and then literally leaks sheer, over-the-top, distraught, exhausted emotion from the time I pick him up until bedtime. He is so emotionally tired from holding it together all day and being obedient. My heart breaks for him and gets angry at him at the same time. Thank you for this breath of hope — to be given the idea to actually pray about this in that very moment of its beginning. Thanks, Kat. Thank you.

    • Kat says:

      You’re SO not the only one, Melissa. I’m praying for you and your precious boy!

    • Meredith says:

      I know this is a late comment, but 6 years ago, I found that my oldest needed time by herself after the stimulation of the school day. Even though I work outside the home and she had been in daycare, the transition to kindergarten was a challenge. Having time by herself seemed to let her reset her emotions and helped her cope with the rest of the day!

  • Hillary says:

    Thank you for this awesome prayer! I can totally relate to the gauntlet after school. I even thought my kids were the only ones! Thank you for encouraging me with this today.

  • Angela says:

    My attempt: When I pick up my three kids (in the school building) I just take them in my arms one after another and hold them for a moment, if they let me. It feels like reconnecting for all of us and kind of calms the emotional outbursts of their little souls brimming over with everything that has happend that day.
    Keep on doing the good work! Thanks for your post.

  • Mel says:

    Lol, verbal stomach flu. So true and so much nicer than how I express it! I love this. I pray with them before school, but yes, after is so much crazier!!!

  • Jen Z says:

    I love this, esp. the line – prevent WWIII from breaking out before the minivan door slides closed. I am always saying – “please just shut the door”, “we will talk when the door is shut”

  • Lisa says:

    I have a half hour commute with my kids’ school. Boy, those words were meant for me. I prayed this yesterday and plan on making it a habit. Thanks so much!

  • Grace in London, UK says:

    Thank you Kat for reminding me that let out time, they NEED to have the verbal stomach flu as you call it. It’s not the most effective ways of communication but it’s the only way to connect. This came at exactly the time when I needed a reminder. THANK YOU

  • Dee Dee says:

    Omg. I thought it was just me. I feel so much better now and will definitely begin praying in the pick up line. I was starting to get nervous about pickup because it was so hectic.

  • Lauren says:

    “Help me to navigate their emotions with grace.” Yes! I still often think about your post about being a “wall of jello” and have prayed to be just that during the chaos of school pick-up time. I will be passing this on to friends. Thank you!

    • Kat says:

      Thank YOU for being a woman of action and an intentional mama! Your children are blessed by your faithfulness, Lauren.

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