Ah, school field trips. The stuff dreams are made of! Whether you’re a new Kindergarten parent or a seasoned fifth grade veteran, you know how magical (and logistically stressful) these morsels of wonder can be for students, parents, and teachers alike. So how about we review a few dos and don’ts to help make this memorable school experience positive for everyone.
If you have an opportunity to join in an educational excursion or two, always say yes. Before you know it, they will be darkening the door of a middle school and these journeys will be a thing of the past. Go while you can!
DON’T BRING YOUR TODDLER.
Have you seen your child’s eyes light up when they know that you are there to spend a whole day just with them? Do your elementary kid a solid and don’t bring their siblings or any extra work with you. Get a babysitter, leave early, grab a coffee, and enjoy a day with your child. Just that ONE.
DON’T DENY YOUR STUDENT THIS OPPORTUNITY.
If you cannot chaperone or the chaperones are limited, please don’t keep your child home. These trips are designed to enhance the students’ overall learning experience outside the classroom. They are an opportunity to hang out with friends in a new environment. They are expanding their worldview, stretching their brains, building responsibility. Heck, just the experience of riding a bus is enough to keep some kids excited for months! Whatever your situation, find a way to send your child on their field trips.
All of it! There are a lot of logistics and multiple important people that your teachers are trying to communicate with. You are not the most important one! Check the backpack. Read the flyer. Reread the emails. Open the messages. I promise, all of your information will be in there. (If it’s not, please kindly ask your teacher for clarification and don’t be surprised if their response is delayed…field trips are a LOT OF WORK!)
DON’T ASK a million questions.
Did you double check all the information first? There’s a good chance your question was answered in the information. As for the details of the trip itself, believe it or not, your job, unless otherwise instructed, is to show up and enjoy the show. If you’ve read your flyers, paid your fees, and made your lunch choice, your work here is done. Show up when the message says to show up and the teacher can take it from there. That’s what they do every day anyways, right?
Some field trips require all-hands-on-deck. If you’re a warm bodied responsible adult, you may be asked to chaperone several friends. You can do it! Believe it or not, the really little ones will actually treat you like a real teacher. Tying shoes, holding jackets, letting you know when they have to go to the bathroom. Trust me…the teachers will thank you for your service.
DON’T TALK only to your child.
These are their peers that they spend seven hours a day, five days a week with. You MIGHT want to get to know them. Also…remember that adult part? Don’t be afraid to be the responsible adult. You don’t have to be mean, but if someone is making a bad choice or putting someone in harm’s way, you are welcome to gently redirect them or find the teacher. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of kids acting like idiots in public while a bunch of adults stand around and watch.
DO MEET THE PARENTS!
Now is your chance to get to know families in your child’s class. Since this usually changes every year, you just never know what chords of friendship might be struck! If nothing else, you may get to add pieces to the scattered social puzzle your child brings home every week.
While a field trip may feel like the perfect place to get face time with other adults involved in your child’s education, it’s probably not a great place to vent your frustrations. Not only do you put others in an uncomfortable position, but you also run the risk of alienating yourself by your negativity. Don’t be that parent. Just don’t.
They are not parent-teacher conferences. They are not moms’ day out. They are not school board meetings. They are learning experiences for the children and with your help they can be some of the best school memories that they have!