I never like to hand out parenting advice. Even when someone comments that I “must know so much” because I have four children. Honestly … they are all so different that my hubby and I are constantly looking at each other and shrugging when faced with a new question to answer or problem to solve. It is still trial and error, even four babies in.
But, one thing I have learned in the past 12 years is to stay involved … with their school, with their activities, with their friends. That’s advice I’m happy to share. The secret is they do want you to see what their school life is like. (Even my middle schooler asks if I can chaperone his events and field trips.) I don’t think you need to hover over your child and be in his classroom every day; that’s not really helpful for anyone. But, going to the school’s family events, eating lunch with him in the cafeteria every once in a while, or chaperoning a field trip can help you feel like a part of his world away from home.
So many parent friends of mine are afraid of field trips. They imagine complete chaos and loud bus rides and being in charge of 15 children by themselves. Not one field trip I’ve been on has been chaotic. The teachers plan these things down to the last minute detail. They want everyone to have fun–and they don’t want to lose any children! 🙂 Most of the time, you’ll be in charge of your own child and 2-3 more. Totally doable.
And yes, I know it is difficult to go on field trips if you work full-time outside the home, but if you’re able to use a personal day, or even a half-day, I promise it will be worth it. I’m not gonna lie; there will be a lot of kiddos with shrill, loud voices. And you might have to endure a Kids Bop sing-along on the bus. But you’ll also have crazy good quality time with your little one, you’ll get to see him interact with his school friends (which is always pretty cool to observe) and you’ll get to know his teacher better by being a part of her/his “team” for the day.
Here’s another secret. You get to go to some really awesome places on field trips! Museums, performing arts centers, dairy farms, zoos, historical forts, planetariums … just a few of my boys’ trips that come to mind. And often these visits include a private tour or talk while the class is there, so the experience is a little more “special” for the kids and adults who come via a school trip.
This fall I went on a field trip with Sawyer’s kindergarten class. It was a walking field trip, so no bus ride. And it was SO FUN! We went to the UF football stadium and were escorted by student athletes around several areas of the stadium. I went on this field trip when Miles and Carson were in kindergarten too, and have loved it every time. The kids are so excited to be in The Swamp, and the parents are excited to see the underbelly of it. I took tons of pictures, but narrowed it down to a few to share here. If you’ve been hesitant to chaperone a field trip with your kiddo’s class, maybe this will encourage you to try it out. 🙂
Pretty neat, huh? If you’re a field trippin’ parent, what has been your favorite one so far?
Love (and go with them) more,