Mom Confession: Why I Hate Field Trips

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?

Image via stevendepolo/Flickr



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Coles... Coles_mom

A class of kids on the subway?!?! There is nothing about rural Arkansas living I like until I heard that. Our field trips are on a big, yellow bus.

poshkat poshkat

We had a field trip today. My son was horrible. Never again am I going on a trip with his class. School busses blow too. I felt like throwing up the whole ride

Coles... Coles_mom

Our parents aren't allowed to ride on the bus. We have to meet the group at the location. I'm a nervous wreck when my kid is on a bus twice a year- I'd completely flip (and not let him go) if he had to ride the subway!

nonmember avatar randi

@Coles-mom, you'd completely flip if he had to ride the subway? Really? Neurotic much?

EnidA... EnidASophiaA

I generally dislike other people's children. I do not volunteer for field trips. If the teacher needs stacks of papers sorted and stapled, I'm your girl. No field trip. Until high school when they don't want you there.

Rosas... RosasMummy

My parents never came on the trips because they were working, I don't ever remember being bothered about that really though. I don't think I'd want to go on a school trip with my kid, it'd be weird being in a situation where someone else has the authority over my kid more than me (the teacher). Once I took my lg to a fete (like a party thing with stalls selling cakes etc if that's not said in USA) at her nursery. I walked in and she was behind me, I turned round and she was gone cos one of the staff had just picked her up and taken her to do something else cos they are obviously used to being the ones in charge of looking after her. It was weird.

Coles... Coles_mom

Yes randi. I am a bit neurotic about my kids' well being. Thanks for asking.

jmama... jmama0307

I went to a class trip on Wed and OMG this is the third time I go with this class and it seems to me everything is in a hurry. We suppose to be in school 845 and we got to the the zoo and 1030 then we only saw 3 exhibit and 30 mins puppet show. We left at 1pm to beat the traffic. Can you believe I want to go back but this time my son and I. So we can enjoy it all and not be in such a hurry. 

Venae Venae

To echo Coles_mom - A class of kids on the subway?  No freaking way!  Don't you people have school buses?

arose74 arose74

I actually really enjoyed joining my son on his first field trip this year. There were plenty of parents so 2 kids each. We rode a basic school bus, yes some kids do behave badly but its not a huge issue. We had zero potty accidents, no lost kids and a strict time schedule. Can't wait to see what first grade has in store for us.

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