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Mom Confession: Why I Hate Field Trips

Posted by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM
  • 19 Replies

Mom Confession: Why I Hate Field Trips

by Sarah Bernard

Look at this photo. Kids on a school or camp outing in search of fun and knowledge. Adorable, right? I remember how excited I was when one of my parents would chaperone a trip. I was so proud of them. I felt like I was holding hands with a movie star. And because of that, when my daughter asked me -- OK, begged me and repeatedly continued to beg me even when I shamefully tried to get out of it -- I went. Here's why I don't want to do it again.

  1. The getting there. Since we live in New York City, that usually means the subway. Taking my own two kids on the subway puts me in a heightened state of alert. Are they leaning on the doors? Getting pushed? Pushing other people? Not touching the dirty poles too much? So being responsible for a whole pack of kids riding the train is terrifying. That's when I think about my suburban friends who remind me that someone always gets carsick on their bus trips.
  2. Other kids are annoying. I hate to admit this because I usually think all kids are awesome and hilarious and adorable. But when you spend hours with them, it becomes apparent that certain ones are bratty or like hitting others or have super irritating laughs.
  3. Your own kids behave badly. Maybe it's the excitement factor but they are not themselves. They don't listen well. They cling. My daughter would never admit it, but I think she would have actually had a better time-- and been more involved in the activities -- if I hadn't been along for the ride.
  4. Bathroom accidents. It happens. An it's nobody's fault. Still, dealing with pee and poop and a kid that's not your own is gross.
  5. Authority issues get confused. When stragglers need to be coaxed across the street or kids need to be reminded that something shouldn't be climbed on/touched/sat on, is that your role or the teachers'? You may say one thing, the teachers another, a different chaperoning parent another still... and the kids don't know who to listen to.
  6. It might rain. It's just water but for some reason rain on a field trip day sends everything and everyone into chaos. There are extra shoes to change into and out of. Umbrellas to keep track of. And if you're looking at your watch, you can add at least 2 more hours onto the deal.
  7. Once you go, they want you to come back. There's the rub. No matter how unpleasant the outing might have been, the fact that you were there was a thrill. That's what your kid will remember and why the time they bring that permission slip over and ask you to volunteer to come along, it still might be hard to say "no."

What's the worst (or best) field trip experience you've ever had?

by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Mikki on Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:20 AM

I don't usually go on field trips with my kids since I teach as well.  However, when I was a para I did go with a class and everything was fine.

family in the van   Mom of four

by Silver Member on Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM

I chaperoned my son's very first field trip when he was in pre-K to the library.  He threw up in the middle of the tour.  It was bad having to deal with a puking kid, but I figure at least it was me with my own kid.  Luckily, we had enough parents that each adult only had two kids and I only had my son since there was an odd number of kids.  So I was able to get him cleaned up and stay with him while he lay down in the classroom while the other kids finished the tour and picked out books.  I think his teacher was a little shocked when I actually volunteered to chaperone again after that.  :)

by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM
I loved chaperoning the multitude of field trips and feel lucky to have gone on just about each one so far through 5th grade. I was surprised that some teachers don't watch their students as well as I would so that is one reason that I kept saying 'yes' when the teachers would ask me to go. You will get to know your children's peers and the experiences I had on the field trips helped me to understand our community better. I say go if you can. Take your old diaper bag and stock it with wipes, Tylenol/Motrin, snacks, water and rubber gloves!
I do live in the country though so I know it's a bit different here! I can relate to your post of having to do this via the subway to NYC - you deserve a Mom medal for that!! Kayla :)
by Bronze Member on Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM

 I agree about kids doing better without a parent, as that IS my DD. If I am there she clings and speaks to no one. If I am not, she interacts and has a blast. I don't even try to attend them anymore.

by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM

I never had a horrible experience with field trips.

by Platinum Member on Jun. 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM
1 mom liked this

I try and go on one a year. The reason I'm not fond of them, however, is I tend to get stuck with either the allergies or the discipline problems. Because I teach high school, the elementary teachers feel I'm better equipped. The truth is, though, I then feel like I'm working and not enjoying the field trip with the kids.

by Tammy on Jun. 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

 Most of them have been fine, but there are 2 that I don't enjoy.

One is the 2nd grade field trip to a museum of natural history- I've been on it twice. The museum tour is awesome, but then the teachers allow 20 minutes of free time to go back to any section of interest-- oh, and you aso have to get them all downstairs and pottied, which actually doesn't leave much exploration time. Try getting 7 kids to all decide they want to go to the same place in the museum- inevitably you end up with a few super whiny kids who didn't get their way. Then we head to the park for lunch where our kids blend in with every other school kid and preschool kid that's there. And there are 2 separate areas so kids are always running back and forth. I have never managed to keep all of my kids together on the same area. It's a PITA.

The other field trip is the 3rd grade trip to the state museum and capital building. I don't love cities and traffic to start with and keeping so many kids together in traffic is difficult. At the museum the tours aren't guided. Parents are handed a map and told, "Meet back here in 2 hours!" Again- try getting all of those kids to all want to see the same parts of the museum at the same time. Agh. I had one boy who could not stop jumping, slipping, leaping, climbing, running away, etc., too. I wasn't sure how to handle/discipline him-- and then I had 5 other kids. We made it, though. The capital tour was, mercifully, guided- so no fighting about where we were or weren't going. At the end we left the capital building doors and the kid I'd been having trouble with promptly ran and jumped INTO the fountain out front. Fortunately the other kids were my daughter and 2 girlfriends, who are good listeners, a boy who listened well, and my neighbor boy (who knew word would get back to his mom if he didn't listen lol) and I could trust them to stay put while I ran after "fountain boy." I made fountain boy hold my hand all the way to the busses. Not sure if that's frowned on or not, but his little antic put at all the way at the back of the line of 100 or so kids making their way to the busses and I didn't feel like getting separated from the group (not knowing where the busses were parked!) because of him.

All of the other ones have been fine. It seems like the self-guided field trips are the most difficult.

by Queen25Princes on Jun. 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I like field trips. I am sad when I don't get picked in the lottery to chaperone : (

by Platinum Member on Jun. 17, 2013 at 1:22 PM
Well, we Homeschool so it is just me responsible for my kids and I enjoy field trips :)

My ex-boss's sister is a teacher in a very poor district and takes her 2nd-3rd grade ESL kids to the county fair each year. I volunteered several years to go. It is awesome!

Most speak minimal English and have never been anywhere like the fair! Never seen a real cow or rode on a tram. She has it down to a science. Each group got color coded bandanas and their name tags on the front and back of their shirts. I usually had my three kids (the older two would help) and 5 of her class. Mom who worked out with me and my Dad usually chaperoned as well. My mom worked with the company for 12 years before I joined so going with them was like going with family. I don't know if she still goes. I will have to ask this year :)
by Laura on Jun. 17, 2013 at 1:46 PM

This. I enjoy them. I loved helping with field day too. I have no issues taking charge. If needed. Mostly, I back up the teachers though. :)

Quoting natesmom1228:

I never had a horrible experience with field trips.

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