Parent Chaperones Behaving Badly (Or How YOU Need to BEHAVE on Your Child’s Field Trips)

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

 

 

 

Do it like you’re screaming out the truck window

Reposted from May 2012

Even vampire kids have sports and one of ours is roller skating. Not Roller Derby, but Artistic Roller Skating on FOUR wheels. An awesome sport if there ever was one. I strongly feel that both Speed and Artistic Roller skating should be in the Olympics.

This past weekend was the BIG Memorial Day Skate Meet for the Artistic Skate Club.

Anyway, my 12 year old daughter had some stiff competition. It was an eye opener for her. But for the “Figures” events she received several medals including 2 first place awards.. Very nice. Then came Dance. When she saw who she was up against she was in a panic. These girls are good. Scary good. National Champion good. But not really. She knew what she had to do.

Needless to say she blew it. She went out there like a wet noodle and totally bombed. She was angry and upset and sulked for a while. Then Steve talked her into some food. A few of the old timers gave her pep talks. I told her “35,000 girls are in the B event (about 30). You’re in the A event so there are 5 of you because nobody else can do what you do. You are still one of the best.” Right, like that was going to help. She knew she bombed.

A little background…everyone at the skate rink thinks my child is a quiet reserved and somewhat serious girl. They don’t know about her other life (she is like her mom in that way). At school, at home, with friends…she is LOUD, funny and nonstop – the girl we all know.

The next event was Creative Dance. Her practice has been so-so. The music was some version of Bandstand (Dick Clark) and Brian Stezer’s Sleep Walk then it transitioned into Brian Setzer’s This Cat’s On A Hot Tin Roof. She was in a black & white poka dotted dress, white gloves, cute as a button.

She was feeling pretty awful at that point knowing she’d blow it. The competition was fierce. Also, this was the first time she’d done this at a competition. From what I was at practice she was not ready at all. It was sort of sad.

Take it all back a week.

Last Friday here was a Middle School field trip to Great America in Santa Clara (Physics Day). I volunteered to go. Oh boy. My group was the cute smart well behaved 8th grade boys (the ones we would have had crushes on too at that age). It was a lot of fun, but the drive was long (almost 4 hours home).. I took C and two of her best girl friends in our truck. Of course on the way home we were stuck in Friday rush hour traffic through the South Bay Area. The girls were making faces and yelling (monster noises not words) out the window. I told them to stop but I was laughing too. Then they started to sing along to the radio in odd accents and talk about all sorts of funny things. It was a riot.

Anyway…

Before my child went on for Creative Dance I said

“Do it like you’re screaming out the truck window.”

Nobody else knew what I meant by that, but my daughter did. She went out on the floor and took the house down. She was AMAZING. It was the best performance she ever had. Now she has to learn more fancy footwork to make it rock at the Regional Championships.

But the real moral of this story is to always “Do it like you’re  screaming out the truck window”.  Always.

For more information on Roller Sports see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Roller_Sports