Like Parent, Like Child

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently incurred the wrath of the city’s ­teachers’ union when he lengthened the elementary school day, starting next year, to seven and a half hours from less than six. One can only imagine that when those kids finally bust free, they’ll be 90 minutes crazier than schoolkids are everywhere on weekdays come 3 p.m.-ish. And that ­final-bell ­madness can extend to parents and nannies picking them up. “It’s a ­challenging time of day ­because ­everyone is tired and people want to get home, but often children have stories to tell about what happened that day,” says George W. Holden, a ­psychology professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and author of Parenting: A ­Dynamic Perspective.

­Recently, Bloomberg Businessweek observed school pickup at five top elementary schools in the New York area—the Upper East Side’s Dalton School, the Upper West Side’s Ethical Culture Fieldston School, ­Greenwich ­Village’s P.S. 41, Tribeca’s P.S. 234, and Park Slope’s P.S. 321 in Brooklyn. Then we ran our impressions by Holden and three other ­experts: Patti Wood, author of the forthcoming Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions; Joe Navarro, author of What Every Body is Saying; and Adam Mansbach, parent of a pre-K’er and author of the cult-hit “­children’s” book Go the F--- to Sleep. Here is our semi-­scientific taxonomy of school pickup behaviors and what the pros think they mean. Brace yourself, Windy City.

 
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