Towards the end of the school year, many schools schedule their class trips once the academics are done for the year. Most trips are local, and just during school time. Other trips for older students may take them to a destination a few hours away from home. Either way, class trips can be a fun opportunity for parents to chaperone and get to know their children’s classmates better.
How to Chaperone a Class Trip
Keep Your Expectations in Check
Not every parent gets picked to be one of the chaperones for a trip. Often homeroom moms are chosen first since they spend all year providing assistance for class parties for the teacher. Teachers also look for reliable parents who can handle small groups of kids while making sure the school is represented well in public. If your school requires clearances for chaperones, make sure you get them done early in the year.
Expect to Work as a Chaperone
Class trips are not a vacation for parent chaperones. If you’re not used to managing a group of several kids, or a number of the kids are strangers to you, you’ll need to be on your toes all the time. The teacher will be relying on you to keep track of the kids in your group and make sure they get to where they need to be on time. Don’t take any detours.
Expect to problem solve on your feet. Yes, the teachers are there. They circulate and check in with each group. Sometimes, you need to take care of a situation before finding a teacher. If you can, ask another parent to find the teacher for you while you’re handling the situation. It’s also okay to make everyone wait for the teacher to come.
Leave the Cell Phone in Your Pocket or Purse
Only use your cell phone to take pictures. Don’t answer the phone unless it’s an emergency; make sure you have an emergency contact for the day. Don’t text.
If you take pictures, check with the parents of the kids in the pictures before posting them on Facebook or elsewhere. While there are parents who don’t mind having their child’s picture on Facebook since they may be friends with you on Facebook, other parents work very hard to protect the privacy of their children.
Kids Will Get Excited
Imagine what it was like for you as a kid to take a ride on a big yellow school to a local museum where you’re out of school for the day. Remember that excitement and thrill? That’s how the kids in your group feel. Enjoy the excitement and thrill with them as long as no one gets hurt, no one’s feelings get hurt, and everyone behaves well.
The Gift Shop
The gift shop is the hardest part of the trip. The kids go a bit crazy in there. Their parent’s money is burning a hole in their pocket. They scatter in all directions in the gift shop. Just keep circulating, counting heads, talking to the kids about how they’re spending their money. I like to do the gift shop after lunch with some time left before we have to head back to the bus.
Be Prepared to Carry Stuff
Sure, you make your kids carry their stuff when you’re out. You’ve had years to train them in your ways. Other parents have other rules, and some kids just don’t keep track of their possessions. Carrying stuff on a class trip ensures that your group doesn’t have to make a trip around the museum to find the missing item instead of having fun. Bring an empty backpack just in case.
Usually, you don’t need to carry the lunches. In my experiences, teachers collect them at school and put them into boxes. The boxes end up in the lunch room at lunch time. Hopefully, nothing has spilled. Tell the teacher as soon as possible if there is an issue with someone’s lunch.
My kids love to have me come as a chaperone. Our class trips are always the last week of school when everyone is ready to be home for the summer. I look forward to taking the day off from my usual routine and spending time with my kids and their classmates.