Chaperoning a Field Trip or Not

Updated on April 30, 2016
T.D. asks from New York, NY
17 answers

i have been on nearly every field trip my sons class has gone on. for the final 4 trips there is a limited # of parents that can go on a paid for ticket. for the first trip the teacher has offered me a bus seat but if i go i will have to pay for a ticket since i was the back up in case another mother had to cancel. the teacher told me that this is a special invitation for me only since i have been with the kids every week since october (mommy helper in the classroom) and that she would like it if i went becasue it would make the child adult ratio for the other parents easier (4 to one instead of 5 to one) BUT dh is making me feel bad about going. he says i am over mothering our child and that we should send him and not chaperone this trip. now a few weeks ago when permission slips came out dh said if i don't go on the trips then ds does not go on the trips. when we found out that the chaperones for the trips were picked out of a hat and that i would be going on the 4th trip and not the first one he started to get strange about the trips and was unsure of what we were going to do so what would you dopay for the ticket or stay home?

ETA: trips 1, 3, and 4 are all about an hour bus ride away to a bigger city than we live in. dh is driving to #3 and #2 is a walk to something local but we will be on a mini vacation and ds will miss that day of school. i am chaperoning #4 no matter what. its #1 that i get to decide on. tickets are 38$ which is not an issue for me

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So What Happened?

my son is 5 some of the kids in his class are 6 but not all.
all other parents have been given the chance to go, i asked to go but was the last name drawn out of the hat. she is offering me a special deal to go and purchase my ticker (all the chaperones get to go free) so i am an extra if i choose to pay to go.
mel. r, yes hubby said it, not me, i hjave wanted to go but if it was totally not possible i would of still sent ds. teacher makes it sound like she prefers i go.
mamazita - yep same "dear" hubby. it was a partial exaggeration, that was how he would of reacted a few years ago but we are in counseling and we are working on stuff so he is getting better about what he says to me.
i have no idea why he changed his tune, and i don't think he knows either, he also seems to think that ds is antisocial because we didn't really socialize him till he started kindergaren but he does fine and the TA assures me that he is totally fine socially and that we have nothing to worry about.
i have decided to go on the trip, 3 of his classmates had to hug me today when i was leaving mommy helper time and i want to go to help the kids have fun and more adults will make it easier for the kids to have fun and be well supervised while doing it

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

Kids grow up so quickly and these opportunities become non-existant. Go if you'd like to go. It will be memorable :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My kids didn't want me to go. I did go on a few but they liked having fun with school friends without mom hanging around. lol I say give him some space and let him learn to be without you some. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

I just took a 5 day 4 night trip to Boston with my 16 year old son's orchestra and band. My ticket was paid for - we took a charter bus.

I wouldn't miss it. I don't know how old your son is - but I would go.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Honestly, I think the only way you would be "over mothering" is if you pay more attn. to your own child than the others. When my niece was in school, and if they had field trips, one student's mom was assigned to a group that did not include that student even though all worked together to watch all students. It also helped them at a young age realize mom is there for everyone.

Personally, I would go if I could.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I think over-mothering happens when you forego important things and hover over your kids, never let them out of your sight, and treat them special at events over other kids.

I think that it's fine to go on lots of field trips if you're not hogging all the chaperone slots to yourself. Many parents would love to go but can't. If another parent wanted to go, but you insisted on taking the spot, that might be impolite. But it sounds like you're needed and wanted.

I'd go. Assure your husband that you will not just be tending to your child - he may not even be in your group - and that you will fairly divide your attention among the other kids and be probably too busy to over- or under-mother! Field trips require a lot of attention!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

i don't miss any opportunity to share time with my kids...I'd go!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Field trips are great!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Go on the field trip. Your days of active mothering will change one day. Don't stop them before you are ready.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Your son is little, right, like 6? I would go for sure. I just went on a field trip with my 5 year old where myself and another mom were responsible for 3 boys between us. I still only spent about 30% of the time directly interacting with him, he was looking at exhibits, chatting with friends, etc. If he was 13, maybe give him a little space if HE said something, but I'm sure your son is all about mom still :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't really understand the problem. If you want to go, and your son wants you to go, then I think you should go.

My youngest was always happy to have me on all his field trips through 8th grade, and since I was a SAHM (partially for that reason) and was able to do it, I went. I think I only missed two field trips, and I recall that on one of them, my son seemed sad that I wasn't going.

FYI, my son is a highly-functioning young adult about to graduate with honors from a prestigious university. So my attending his field trips and "over mothering him" didn't harm him.

I don't know what grade your child is in but it's rare that you will get to go on field trips once he's in high school. So I say go.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think it's fine that you go on trips with 2 caveats: other parents absolutely have to have a chance to go (without the teacher picking her favorites), and kids need to learn to go on trips without their own mom or dad (builds independence). But if the teacher really likes your style (which means you aren't over-mothering your kid or playing favorites) and if you have time and money to go, that's great.

In general, our schools put weekly parent volunteers in a classroom other than their own child's because the helper is observing too much that's confidential among their children's friends, and their own child is deferring to Mom rather than Teacher. It doesn't build independence, so do watch that going forward, especially if your child had limited socialization before school.

I am confused by your husband's attitude - child is not social, but teacher says fine; your child can't go if you don't go (he's unwilling to let your child spread his wings), or you can't go (he's micromanaging you). And if he has enough power over you to "make you feel bad" (when that's really something you're doing to yourself), I think you need some expert help in that area, for communication and establishing boundaries.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My kids didn't go on field trips without my husband or I until they were in 3rd grade. I missed volunteering to chaperone one, so I had to drive the two hours, pay to park, pay my admission, and buy my lunch - all included in the $12 ticket for the chaperone. I didn't mind at all. With your son being young, I would go and tell your husband to hush.

Even now, my husband or I go on as many as possible. It really doesn't hurt to get to know your kids friends and how they behave around them. I leave Sunday for a week long field trip with my 12 year old 7th grade daughter. My husband was on one last Friday with out 9 year old, and the one with our 11 year old was cancelled due to rain yesterday.

I think it's SO important to be involved in your children's lives, and if spending time with them while at school is a way you CAN do it, do it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Why wouldn't your husband let your son go without you and why the change of heart?

If you want to go, and you aren't taking a spot away from another parent who would like a chance to go, then go. Unless you are worried that your child has become too dependant on your presence, then maybe you need to let him go without you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have never had the opportunity due to circumstances to volunteer and wish I had. My husband has gone for us once before and while he said it was like trying to herd cats (on a hike) my child LOVED having him there. Even though they ran off and the kids did their own thing, just having dad there was pretty cool.

I think do what you like. My husband and I don't try to tell each other what to do. No judgement. I just would be so unhappy if my husband felt he had a right to tell me what's what. I listen to his opinion for sure. And I often ask it because I value his different outlook.

To me this is more an issue of how you two communicate. Married couples don't always have to agree, but for it to work well they have to respect each other. He can't make you feel bad - don't give him that power. That's yours :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like your son's class has a lot of field trips. The post was a bit confusing to me regarding the many trips and which ones were ones that you'd go on no matter what, or as the extra person, etc.

I would normally say go -- but you say you've been on "nearly every field trip" your son has ever been on and you also have been in the classroom "every week since October."

I would give other parents a chance here. I do get that you're a backup, there are other parents going as well, the teacher specifically asked you to come, etc., but frankly there may be other parents out there who would want this slot. They've likely been told "all the parent chaperone slots are now full," and if that's the case, why not tell the teacher you can't come this time and would like to free up that extra slot for some parent who maybe has not had nearly the opportunities that you have to see their kid at school and to accompany field trips?

I do find it strange that, if I read the post right, your husband (not you, right?) said that if you don't go on the field trips, your son does not go. Did I read that correctly? And now husband has reversed himself and is saying your overdoing the field trip chaperoning? First, it's not good if any parent proclaims that a child cannot go on any field trips without a parent present; it singles out that kid to other kids, and frankly to the teachers as well, as having insecure parents who commandeer every chaperone opportunity. (Not saying you're doing that but it is what happens if you or husband insist that no parent means not trip for your son and you keep him home.) It's odd that he should change his mind. Did you just ask him why he said that earlier but now has changed his tune so drastically that he's totally reversed himself?

Whatever your DH says or is doing, I would take a break from chaperoning for the one trip in question and I'd also be sure to tell the teacher that there must be parents who would love the chance to chaperone that one in your place.



answers from Washington DC on

I went on every field trip from the time they were in kindergarten until they graduated high school. I wouldn't have missed it for the world - and they wanted me to go.



answers from Miami on

Do what you want to do and ignore your husband.

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