Helping out at your child's class field trip is such a fun and special experience for the both of you. If you are able to sign up for one, I recommend you do, as it's a great way to connect with your little one while getting to know their teachers and friends. I was a field trip newbie last year. It was my first time helping out with my daughter's class and I quickly realized that there were some must-haves and do’s and don'ts that I had never thought of for the big day. Even before you step on the school-bus - yes, they still smell the same - there are a few things you should make sure you take care of.
- If you are planning on helping out at your child's school or with field trips the first thing you want to do is get your police check done and handed in. It can take a few weeks so don't leave it until the last minute…like ahem…some parents do. If you do…and I’m not speaking from experience I swear…you can register online at backcheck.ca. Some schools may not accept it though and would prefer you do it in person at your local police station.
- A great tip I got from Becky at bitofmomsense.com - she’s a field trip regular - is if you have another sibling at the school remind that child (the one not going on the field trip) that you will be on the trip and who the back up emergency is. The school will already have that contact number on file but it puts the child’s mind at ease knowing they have someone there for them.
- Go to bed early the night before. Trust me. It’s going to be a long day.
On the day of the trip you will be assigned a group of children that you will be in charge of throughout the day – set the rules of your group right away.
- Sometimes you’ll be able to leave lunches and bags on the bus or there will be a location where you can store items, but sometimes that won’t be the case and you’ll have to carry what you bring with you all day. Make sure the children are aware of this and they need to understand that what they bring they carry. If not, by lunchtime you’ll be carrying 5 lunch bags and 5 backpacks and a pocket full of shopkins and beanie boos.
- For the younger kids it can be a good idea to assign a group name. It makes it fun and helps wrangle everyone together throughout the day.
Fun Tip! Tie in your group name with what you are wearing. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. You want comfort but I also think it’s a great idea to wear a brightly coloured or patterned top so that your group is able to spot you easily in a crowd. I wore a black and white striped t-shirt and our group name was team Zebra’s. The kids knew to look for my shirt if they got separated and they were easy to regroup when I called out “team Zebra!”
- Bringing your own backpack is always a good idea for comfort and while we don’t want the kids to over pack, you want to make sure you don’t over pack as well. Here’s what you should bring:
- Large ziplock bags. These were a godsend and something that was not packed on purpose but I was so thankful to have. Trust me, someone’s water bottle will leak, clothes will get wet, bananas will be completely smashed in backpacks. These are a must bring for a pseudo storage container or garbage.
- Sunblock if it’s an outdoor trip. Most schools won’t allow you to put sunblock on the kids but bring it for yourself and make sure each child has their own sunblock on before you leave.
- Hand sanitizer for yourself because you may be a germaphobe like me…and someone’s banana will get smashed and you’ll need a quick clean up.
- Hand wipes or tissues. Always handy to have for spills and wipe ups especially if someone’s banana gets smashed, or pulverized, however you want to imagine it.
- A lunch with easy and quick snacks for you and your child and plenty of water to drink throughout the day. Please leave the banana out.
- It’s always fun to take pictures to send to the parents of the children in your group. They appreciate the gesture and sometimes teachers don’t have time to take as many pictures as they would like and you can send it to them as well. Refrain from posting these pictures on you social media accounts. These aren’t your kids and some parents may not want their children’s pictures up. That’s just social media etiquette 101. If it’s just you and your child – post away.
The last thing to bring is your patience and a smile. Remember to not yell at other people's kids as you would yell at your own. That’s usually frowned upon. Keep your ears and eyes open and have fun! Take in these moments because one day your child will be old enough where mom or dad helping out at school is not cool, or hip, or sick, or whatever they are calling it these days.
And don't forget to keep the wine chilled for when you get home.
What are your field trip tips? Post them in the comments below.
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