Parent Chaperones Behaving Badly (Or How YOU Need to BEHAVE on Your Child’s Field Trips)
I’ll make this quick, because we all know parents (and I’m one of them) don’t have a lot of time.
If you have K-12 children you know they are going to go on field trips. If they go on field trips you know parents are going to be asked to go along as chaperones. You know that one day YOU will be asked to be a chaperone.
When you arrive to the location of the field trip you might have a guide to take the children on a tour, or to give them some sort of lesson or demonstration, or help with an activity.
Your field trip host might be a park ranger, a docent, or some sort of other adult helper. 90% of the time this guide/docent/helper will be a VOLUNTEER. By volunteer I mean someone who has freely given their time to spend their time teaching something to YOUR CHILD.
As a PARENT on these trips, be it a historic park, an art museum, a factory tour, or a science center, YOU need to do your part to make it a good experience for everyone.
Yes, being a chaperone is fun because you get to go someplace and take a day off from work. Fun fun fun. You also have responsibilities. Those responsibilities include:
- Keeping the kids from acting like wild animals (including your child)
- Encouraging the children to stay together
- Encouraging the children to get along
- Making sure the children pay attention to the guides/docents/teachers
- Making sure the children are engaged
- Making sure ALL of the children feel included in activities
YES that is YOUR JOB.
- Also… remember these trips are for the KIDS.
- Don’t take over activities. If a guide/docent has a question for the CHILDREN let the CHILDREN answer it.
- Be nice. Don’t be rude to guides or docents. Like I said, they are volunteers. They are doing this without pay. They are doing the best they can. If you’re an asshole it will just take away from the experience of the kids.
- Don’t use tour time as a way to catch up with other parents. Watch for kids who are wandering off. And YOU are not allowed to wander off. Stay with the children. Stay engaged.
- Don’t spend all of the time with YOUR CHILD. As a chaperone you have agreed to be with ALL of the kids in your group. Don’t wander off with your kid on a tour. It distracts the other children. It distracts the guide/docent. It distracts the other parents. Plus it is just rude.
- Listen to the guide/docent and help the children follow the rules. It will make a safer tour and guarantee everyone will have a fun experience.
- Don’t be an asshole.
- Don’t look bored. Kids will pick up on that. Like I said, don’t be an asshole.
- Do a little bit of research before you go on the field trip so you can discuss it with your child and the other kids in the group. There is a wonderful thing called the INTERNET. You can get all kinds of information about EVERYTHING including the location of your field trip.
- Make sure kids get snacks before the tour or activity. Hungry kids don’t pay attention and tend the fidget. The same goes for bathrooms breaks. Make sure every has gone to the potty before the tour or activity.
- Yes, you’re the adult. You’re a parent. That is your job when you volunteer as a chaperone.
Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to be known as a good parent. Everyone wants to be asked back. Nobody wants a bad reputation. Follow my guidelines and you’ll be the coolest field trip chaperone in the class. I guarantee it.
That’s it. Simple rules. Be the adult you are. Your kids will than you for it later.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
These are all very good guidelines for parent chaperones to keep in mind.
“Keeping the kids from acting like wild animals (including your child).” This is definitely true for school children of all ages. Just because they’re over a certain age doesn’t guarantee that they will behave themselves.
“Don’t be an asshole…Don’t look bored.” These are both so true. Kids definitely pick up on these sort of things. They can and will take full advantage of them and go amuck.
Thanks. Most parents are ok but so many forget it is all about the kids. They forget that field trips are magical and that they need to help make those trips something that the kids will remember forever.