Let’s be all-the-way-real…chaperoning is a nice thing to do in our heads, right? 🤔 But when the day and time actually comes, we are like: 😯 “wait, I have SO many things to do.” Especially if you are like me, a working single mama. BUT, I knew that attending today’s class field trip as a chaperone was going to make my little person’s day (priceless) and it would be good for me to break up all the work-go-work pace I can sometimes fall into. 💼 But, we know good-and-well, that most field trips leave parent-chaperones D-O-N-E! Without energy for anything else. How can we change this? 💭
Well, below are some tips 🤚I have tested that have helped me make the best of field trip days so that the kids have a blast and I walk away with some energy left too. #momwin 😁 Because, the truth is, I still have a full work day ahead of me right now after chaperoning today (HEEAAYY, evening meeting!) Sidenote: And, I love it. Work flexibility as a mom is a Game Changer (that’s another post though). On to some tips that help you win as a chaperone on your child’s field trip.
#1 DO YOU (before game time starts). That means before you jump on the yellow school bus with the crew, pack YOUR lunch, do YOUR hair for the entire day (not just the morning 😝), eat a good breakfast and spare YOURself some time to get YOUR coffee. Before you go into a day of service, make sure you pack some snacks for YOU and fill up YOUR water bottle. Hydration is KEY everyday in this #momlife. Plan out what else YOU have to do that day and try to get it done ahead of time. Doing YOU before you “do them” will help you be in the moment on the field trip. Your mind won’t be running through your to-do list and missing the moments with your kid. Today, I had my morning protein shake, packed my bag, did my hair, and even hit up Dunkin Donuts for some (decaf) coffee before jumping on the school bus. A strong start helps a strong finish.
#2 Have a plan of action. Sometimes, the teachers tell you what to do, with a strict time table. Other times, they give you a map with a list of kids in your group and that’s it. In either case, you have some room to determine your course of action. Assess the map and how many hours your stay will be. Remember, these are kids, and they need physical activity. So, don’t think they are going to walk and talk for 3 hours straight. Not unless you want some cranky kiddos that drive you nuts. Create balance in your agenda. Additionally, plan around all the other kids that are taking over the field trip spot. Work around the busy times (rush hours) by taking an early lunch and finishing the day with outdoor fun (instead of a final exhibit). This is pretty much like family vacation, just on a smaller level. I finished my day with the kids by having them do a race to one end of a field and back. This was clutch! They had no more energy by the time we returned on the school bus. Winning!
#3 Make it fun. Come on, we know adultism is real. If it wasn’t for our kids, we would probably not think the tress and stars are THAT cool. Don’t get me wrong, I fight the urge to dismiss the daily magic that is all around us. I’m not proud that I miss the details of life and can’t see them as quickly as my kids anymore. But that’s partly how they are here to teach us, right? So, ENGAGE these little happy people. Find fun in the colors or the names of things. Use this as YOUR moment of therapy to reconnect with your inner child and model the way for the group. Today, I was fascinated by the American Century Agave Plant that had grown through a 25 foot ceiling. The conservatory staff have waited 50 years for this plant to grow and last January it started to. Could you imagine waiting 50 years for something. Geesh! I spotted the cool colors of nature…fuchsia, violet, bright orange, etc.
#BONUS tip – START the trip with a team name and ground rules. My kids, and their friends that know me, know that I don’t play (too much). I start the trip with a team name that usually includes the number of children that are in the group (so they can remember and keep up with themselves) and some ground rules like “I’m in charge. Everyone is to follow instructions unless you want your teacher and/or parent to hear about it.” THIS WORKS. It’s set the tone and helps with “child management.” 😂
Moms, we are in this together. I’m just sharing some of the hurdles I run into and ways I’ve navigated through it. What about you? Help a mama out! Comment below with the ways you have won while chaperoning your child’s field trip.