How to Handle the “Slow Kid” in your Carpool

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I am in a carpool for an after school activity for my son and his friends. Whenever I go to pick up one of the kids, he is never ready to go. We have to go up to the door, (it takes a while for someone to get there), and then it is several minutes before he comes out to the car. How can I politely handle the situation?

Dear Anonymous,
There is always a “slow to get out to the car” kid in every carpool. I would text the parent and her son (if he has a phone), and let him know you are on your way. Also have your son also text the son, telling him to come out because you are almost there. When (and if) the son comes out faster than usual, praise him for it. Say, “Thank you for being right there waiting for me to pull up. I get so stressed when I think we are going to be late.” I would then mention it again when you dropped him off, thanking him again for being ready. If he and his mom never get the hint through the texting and he is slow getting to your car again, then when he is in the car, praise another child for being ready to go when you pick him up. Or if you are the one picking up the children from the activity, question your son about being ready when he was picked up. You can say, “Were you ready to go and waiting by the door when Mrs. Smith picked you up? You should look out for her, or wait outside in front of the house, so you do not keep everyone waiting.” Any of these suggestions should give this boy the message to stop being slow.