This week's discussion topic stems from a recent personal quandary. On Monday, my daughter went on her first full day field trip. The trip was to the Providence Children's Museum.
I was not lucky enough to be one of the “Chaperone Lottery Winners,” nor was I able to "follow the bus" due to last minute obligations. I didn’t give my absence much thought and was primarily focused on ensuring her lunch was completely disposable. Much to my surprise, I found myself a nervous wreck Monday morning!
I ask that you bear in mind that my professional background includes operating school age programs, programs that offered numerous field trips each year. In my capacity, I was required to attend many distressing presentations of the potential dangers of off-site excursions. While, that is ancient history, I could not believe how quickly all the statistics and commentary came back to me!
In all honesty, I must have checked my cell phone a dozen times before school let out, simply to ensure I hadn’t missed a call. At pick up time, my daughter was glowing with excitement of her experience and in an instance, I felt silly for worrying.
My worry was replaced by curiosity as I wondered…was I alone in my field trip fears?
One mom shared her recent experience…
I think that the parent, who thinks that by being a chaperone will calm their anxiety, is sadly mistaken! The anxiety multiplies when you are now responsible for other people's children as well.
I talked with the kids that morning about not going with strangers, even if they appear to work at the place. It is a hard talk to have with young children but I keep having it every time we go to a big public forum.
I will NEVER be calm when my kids are out of my control. I'm not sure that I will be letting them go on field trips when I lose the ability to follow along. At least not until they are in high school....maybe not even then. I would hate for them to miss out on the opportunities to have fun with their classrooms just because I am a nervous Nelly/control freak!”
Another mom empathized…
I can only imagine how you felt. My daughter went on one field trip to Ward’s Berry Farm. Luckily, I was able to attend which worked out quite nicely. In mid-June, she will be going to the zoo. I have volunteered to chaperone, but spots are limited for this one. Therefore, I am a bit nervous about what will happen if I can't chaperone.
On the one hand, I have been to that zoo many times which does make me more comfortable. If I cannot attend I will definitely be nervous, but I won't prevent her from going due to my worries. I will be checking my cell phone numerous times throughout the day to make sure no one has called.
I will also spend the day reminding myself that the teachers are professionals who have done this before. We trust our children to the teachers and school system for 180 days a year; I hope that even when the teachers are on a field trip our trust is well placed. So, I'll hold on to that thought for the day, and pray all is well and that my daughter is having fun.
This mom and teacher explains each perspective…
I have to say that I, too, had a moment Monday where I visualized something going wrong on the field trip and I wasn't there to help my daughter. I had this crazy thought that what if something terrible happened unexpectedly in this public place similar to what we hear far too often in the news these days such as a shooting or bus accident (I know, horrible thought!).
I quickly put my mind at ease by remembering that everything always turned out ok with my 3rd grader on his field trips.
I also want to add that I have been a parent chaperone as well as a teacher on a field trip, responsible for supervising all the children and chaperones. Parents, who chaperone usually, take the job very seriously and use extra cautions. As a teacher, I always reminded my chaperones to count, count, count! If I gave you a group of five children, you should be counting five heads repeatedly, ALL DAY LONG!”
We can't forget about the seasoned veteran teachers, who have been on a countless number of field trips, and probably have it organized to the T. I'm sure that a teacher on a field trip would always be prepared with a first-aid kit, emergency contact info and cell phone.”
This mom encourages other parents to have no fear…
Both of my kids have been on field trips for their schools and most of the time, I chaperone. For the preschool trips, I carpooled the children but for liability reasons, public school children need to ride the bus. I volunteered at the first trip, and I'm chaperoning Kayla's second trip in June. I like to do this, because I get to meet Kayla's classmates, and I see how the teachers and students interact.
There was one field trip of Maya's that I was not able to come along on (I forget why), but I didn't worry. She went to Blue Hills Trailside Museum. My friend drove her, and she had my friend, the teachers and the museum staff looking after her. I wouldn't worry too much. There's not a lot of bad stuff that could happen to your kid that wouldn't happen anyway at school or on the playground. (School buses are built like tanks and the staff at children's museums are expertly trained to find lost kids!)
I don't know much about conquering fears, since most of the time they're illogical. Maybe a therapist? If you think your fears will be alleviated if you can chaperone, then see if your hubby can take a personal day so you can. However, this only buys time for you to come to the root of your fears. Eventually, the child has to go off to college.”
I enjoyed and appreciate each of these responses. Each week, I ask moms to add one more thing to their to-do list and every week members of the MOMS COUNCIL does just that! Thank you for your continued contribution.
So what about the rest of my readers?
- Have your kids gone on field trips?
- Did you chaperone?
- Were you a worry-wart like me?
- If so, how do you calm you fears since it will be at least an annual event?
I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section!