It is always interesting watching parents on a field trip. Presumably the reason that you accompany your child is that you would like to enjoy the opportunity to spend time together and experience that adventure together. I went with my son’s 4th grade class to the Shedd Aquarium today and supervised him and three of his friends.
But yet, when I listened to some of the parents waiting to board the school buses and as they sit among the noisy 4th graders, you would think that this experience is akin to a torture chamber. Seriously. You do not have to volunteer for this duty if you hate it that much.
So with that backdrop, here are some tips that you can follow next time you agree to chaperone a trip (and some for parents who do not accompany their child):
- SMILE—this is supposed to be fun. You are not an armed guard at a correctional facility. Enjoy the time with your child and his/her friends (and if you cannot enjoy it, at least pretend for your child’s sake).
- SPEND TIME TOGETHER—Far be it from me to tell anyone not to check email or look at their phone but some of the parents on the trip barely engaged with their own child, much less any of the other children in the group
- BUT GIVE THEM THEIR SPACE—Some parents hovered over their children and forced” their children to sit with them on the bus instead of letting them hang out with their friends.
- EXPLORE—Kids love looking around. Field trips do NOT need a lot of rules. Let the kids enjoy the experience and have some independence as they look around. They do not need to have a leash around them.
- RELAX—You need to let yourself enjoy it as well. So yeah, it will be noisy. But you should have known that. They are 4th graders. On a school bus. On the way to a field trip. No school. This is not a library. As long as they are not hurting each other, let it go.
- ENJOY—You took a day away from everything else you could have been doing at home or at work. Take the time to enjoy it and learn something for yourself. Get to know some of your children’s friends. Get to know some of the other parents. Get to know your child’s teacher. You will learn more from that one day than hearing 50 stories from your child.
If you don’t like these rules, do your child a favor and stay home!! J