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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Mixed Age Field Trip Tips?
BGM 05:23 PM 05-22-2018
Hey guys,

So, I'm planning a field trip for my kids in a little under two weeks. I need planning help!!

Here's what's happening:

-I'm taking public transportation to the Botanical Gardens which is a 20-40 minute ride on the bus...8 by car, but I don't do transportation
-I plan on going from around 10-2
-I have 2 infants and 3 toddlers, two of which can be really bad walkers. All but one are still in diapers. The oldest is 4 and a great helper...but they're 4. So...

Am I crazy?? How do I a.) pull this off without losing somebody b.) bring everything I need, including lunches and diapers (one kid is CD) and c.) keep sane?

Do I need some leashes, a whistle, something??

I know it's a huge undertaking, but I close for the summer and really want the kids and parents to leave on a happy note. This is my first year in daycare, so I'm still trying very hard to impress folks.

So far, I'm thinking I'll need:
-To tell the parents I'm using disposable diapers for the CD baby even though they are really, really against it. The mess and extra bulk would just be too much for me.
-I'll need some sort of harness/walking rope system. Preferably one they can't easily let go of and run away. lol
-Maybe a backpack for lunches, snacks, waters, diapers and paperwork. Should I maybe have a kid backpack and have them take turns wearing it with the diapers or something to help me out??
-Some sort of matching garb for me and the kids in case we are seperated
-Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Thoughts?
Reply
sharlan 05:33 PM 05-22-2018
I do 3 field trips a week during the summer.

My first bit of advice, find a helper for the day or find something else to do.

Infants that need diaper changes and toddlers that can run make for a bad situation. It only takes a split second for a toddler to run. You can't abandon 4 to go after 1.

Also taking a stroller on a bus isn't easy. You can't hold on to every one and fold up a stroller.
Reply
lblanke 05:59 PM 05-22-2018
What about a water day at your house? Sprinkers, draw a picture of a house on fire with sidewalk chalk and let the kids play fireman (fill up lots of red solo cups with water and let the kids pour water on it until it is gone), water table, run water hose into noodle with holes in it and have kids run under it like they are going through a car wash (need 2 adults). Or a field day at your house...sidewalk chalk, giant bubbles, You could even have an inflatable bounce house (got a pretty inexpensive one at Sam's a few summers ago), Field trip with that many non walkers on public transportation sounds like it might be tough. I would have no more than 1 adult for 2 children for that undertaking. Good luck
Reply
BGM 06:33 PM 05-22-2018
Originally Posted by sharlan:
I do 3 field trips a week during the summer.

My first bit of advice, find a helper for the day or find something else to do.

Infants that need diaper changes and toddlers that can run make for a bad situation. It only takes a split second for a toddler to run. You can't abandon 4 to go after 1.

Also taking a stroller on a bus isn't easy. You can't hold on to every one and fold up a stroller.
Originally Posted by lblanke:
What about a water day at your house? Sprinkers, draw a picture of a house on fire with sidewalk chalk and let the kids play fireman (fill up lots of red solo cups with water and let the kids pour water on it until it is gone), water table, run water hose into noodle with holes in it and have kids run under it like they are going through a car wash (need 2 adults). Or a field day at your house...sidewalk chalk, giant bubbles, You could even have an inflatable bounce house (got a pretty inexpensive one at Sam's a few summers ago), Field trip with that many non walkers on public transportation sounds like it might be tough. I would have no more than 1 adult for 2 children for that undertaking. Good luck
Thanks for the advice guys. I really want to make this work. The bus stop is right outside our house so they don't have to do a ton of walking. They're pretty good if we take a few breaks, but I feel like that's fine because we don't have to walk that far once we get to the gardens. We'll see what we see. We don't have to see it all, I just really want to get out of the house for a day with them.
I know it's going to be hard, but I'm looking for suggestions to make this possible, not alternatives. I've done tons of activities around the house and neighborhood. Now I want to go out and try something new!
Reply
storybookending 06:47 PM 05-22-2018
The Montessori school by me all does matching shirts when they go anywhere so they can easily spot which kids are theirs in places where there are a bunch of other children.

I am assuming you are taking a stroller if you have two infants? Do they nap between 10-2 and how are you planning on juggling nap times with the older ones? Have you told parents about your plans yet? Some of them might bail which would make it easier for you if they arenít comfortable with field trips/public transportation.

I would not be doing this if you are worried about anyone wandering off or losing anyone which it seems like you might be as you mentioned it twice.I would get a helper for sure or not go at all.
Reply
flying_babyb 07:49 PM 05-22-2018
thats sounds like a handful! Ive taken 2-6 year olds at our center but we always have two teacher minimum. I wouldn't even consider taking my 2s on public transit. A walking rope is a good idea but some kids just cant grasp the concept (lots of falling down). We've been practicing for 2 weeks and still cant make it (we go boom alot). Try a walking field trip on a rope first. I agree its a PITA to take a stroller on the bus. I ride two daily and feel for the moms with strollers, also most buses require you take your child out of the stroller for safety. can you hold two infants while also watching 3 toddlers(who will most likey be bouncing and excited) and one four year old (who will be equally bouncy, the bus is a cool place). If you try this i would get a assistant for the day
Reply
BGM 08:13 PM 05-22-2018
Originally Posted by flying_babyb:
thats sounds like a handful! Ive taken 2-6 year olds at our center but we always have two teacher minimum. I wouldn't even consider taking my 2s on public transit. A walking rope is a good idea but some kids just cant grasp the concept (lots of falling down). We've been practicing for 2 weeks and still cant make it (we go boom alot). Try a walking field trip on a rope first. I agree its a PITA to take a stroller on the bus. I ride two daily and feel for the moms with strollers, also most buses require you take your child out of the stroller for safety. can you hold two infants while also watching 3 toddlers(who will most likey be bouncing and excited) and one four year old (who will be equally bouncy, the bus is a cool place). If you try this i would get a assistant for the day
Originally Posted by storybookending:
The Montessori school by me all does matching shirts when they go anywhere so they can easily spot which kids are theirs in places where there are a bunch of other children.

I am assuming you are taking a stroller if you have two infants? Do they nap between 10-2 and how are you planning on juggling nap times with the older ones? Have you told parents about your plans yet? Some of them might bail which would make it easier for you if they arenít comfortable with field trips/public transportation.

I would not be doing this if you are worried about anyone wandering off or losing anyone which it seems like you might be as you mentioned it twice.I would get a helper for sure or not go at all.
One of my "infants" is actually 22 months and can walk and run, so I was considering maybe bringing the other little baby in a Ergobaby and having the stroller as a backup in case my big baby or one of the other kids has a meltdown and refuses to walk. Or! Maybe I can Egrobaby the little baby, put the bigger one in the stroller and then put my slowest walker in the stroller as well...
I guess I'm being dramatic about them running off in three different directions. They're more likely to just quit walking than anything. haha

I get many of you are saying don't go, but I'm trying to focus on how to make this possible because I think it's possible to do this safely with my group, I just need some help planning logistics.
Reply
mamamanda 08:48 PM 05-22-2018
Originally Posted by BGM:
Hey guys,

So, I'm planning a field trip for my kids in a little under two weeks. I need planning help!!

Here's what's happening:

-I'm taking public transportation to the Botanical Gardens which is a 20-40 minute ride on the bus...8 by car, but I don't do transportation
-I plan on going from around 10-2
-I have 2 infants and 3 toddlers, two of which can be really bad walkers. All but one are still in diapers. The oldest is 4 and a great helper...but they're 4. So...

Am I crazy?? How do I a.) pull this off without losing somebody b.) bring everything I need, including lunches and diapers (one kid is CD) and c.) keep sane?

Do I need some leashes, a whistle, something??

I know it's a huge undertaking, but I close for the summer and really want the kids and parents to leave on a happy note. This is my first year in daycare, so I'm still trying very hard to impress folks.

So far, I'm thinking I'll need:
-To tell the parents I'm using disposable diapers for the CD baby even though they are really, really against it. The mess and extra bulk would just be too much for me.
-I'll need some sort of harness/walking rope system. Preferably one they can't easily let go of and run away. lol
-Maybe a backpack for lunches, snacks, waters, diapers and paperwork. Should I maybe have a kid backpack and have them take turns wearing it with the diapers or something to help me out??
-Some sort of matching garb for me and the kids in case we are seperated
-Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Thoughts?
I'm trying to picture your group to make the best suggestions... you're saying 1 young infant, a 22 mo, & 3 kids age 2-4. Am I reading that right? Sounds about like my group. I have different numbers different days, but my full time crew is a 9 mo, two 2yo, a 3 yo, & my own 6 yo. We've experimented a lot & I've found what works best for me. We go to the library every week & usually one other outing as well.

What works for me is I wear the baby on my chest in a carrier allowing both hands to be free & I carry supplies in a backpack on my back. Obviously take everything you will need, but pack light. It gets heavy. .
I have a 24 mo who is smallish & I don't trust her not to run so I typically carry her on one hip or allow her to walk holding my hand while wearing a backpack with leash attached for an added safety measure.
My 2.75 yo also wears a backpack leash. (I don't rely on the leashes. I am training them to walk as a group, but they give me peace of mind knowing they are there for a back up safety feature.) He holds my other hand & my 3 yo holds his hand. I am pretty lenient at home, but rules are strict on outings & they all know it. You do not for any reason let go of your buddy's hand while walking together.

I use a red circle for each kiddo & they know when holding the circle they are to sit still & be calm. This might be something to consider for the bus ride. I use it on the bookmobile while they wait their turn to pick a book.

Very honestly, I would not take a group that size/ages on public transportation w/o an assistant. Not b/c you're not capable or they wouldn't listen, but b/c too many unseen things can happen. Emergencies happen, crazy people try to snatch kids, someone always poops just after you've returned from the bathroom, etc etc. I've found that taking someone with me just allows me to enjoy the experience so much more.
Do you have a family member you would trust to take with you for the day? A mom, grandma, aunt, etc? Would one of the parents like to go as a chaperone? Could you hire a teenager from church to help for the day? There are many options there that would allow you the fun day you're envisioning while still giving you a little extra peace of mind.

A few other tips, take cards w/each kids emergency contact info in the backpack just in case. Make sure you have access to drinks for everyone. If you can manage the double stroller on the bus it could be a life saver to let the kids take turns riding when they get tired if you're holding/wearing baby.

Hope some of that helps.
Reply
BGM 09:30 PM 05-22-2018
Originally Posted by mamamanda:
I'm trying to picture your group to make the best suggestions... you're saying 1 young infant, a 22 mo, & 3 kids age 2-4. Am I reading that right? Sounds about like my group. I have different numbers different days, but my full time crew is a 9 mo, two 2yo, a 3 yo, & my own 6 yo. We've experimented a lot & I've found what works best for me. We go to the library every week & usually one other outing as well.

What works for me is I wear the baby on my chest in a carrier allowing both hands to be free & I carry supplies in a backpack on my back. Obviously take everything you will need, but pack light. It gets heavy. .
I have a 24 mo who is smallish & I don't trust her not to run so I typically carry her on one hip or allow her to walk holding my hand while wearing a backpack with leash attached for an added safety measure.
My 2.75 yo also wears a backpack leash. (I don't rely on the leashes. I am training them to walk as a group, but they give me peace of mind knowing they are there for a back up safety feature.) He holds my other hand & my 3 yo holds his hand. I am pretty lenient at home, but rules are strict on outings & they all know it. You do not for any reason let go of your buddy's hand while walking together.

I use a red circle for each kiddo & they know when holding the circle they are to sit still & be calm. This might be something to consider for the bus ride. I use it on the bookmobile while they wait their turn to pick a book.

Very honestly, I would not take a group that size/ages on public transportation w/o an assistant. Not b/c you're not capable or they wouldn't listen, but b/c too many unseen things can happen. Emergencies happen, crazy people try to snatch kids, someone always poops just after you've returned from the bathroom, etc etc. I've found that taking someone with me just allows me to enjoy the experience so much more.
Do you have a family member you would trust to take with you for the day? A mom, grandma, aunt, etc? Would one of the parents like to go as a chaperone? Could you hire a teenager from church to help for the day? There are many options there that would allow you the fun day you're envisioning while still giving you a little extra peace of mind.

A few other tips, take cards w/each kids emergency contact info in the backpack just in case. Make sure you have access to drinks for everyone. If you can manage the double stroller on the bus it could be a life saver to let the kids take turns riding when they get tired if you're holding/wearing baby.

Hope some of that helps.
Thank you!! That was a ton of helpful information. I was going to ask the parents if anyone would like to volunteer, but if not, I was really hoping to try and get the logistics for this to do solo.
Reply
Unregistered 09:33 PM 05-22-2018
Ive never used one of these ropes but Maby this walking rope with hand straps would work for u https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0155...h+straps&psc=1
Reply
BGM 10:24 PM 05-22-2018
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
Ive never used one of these ropes but Maby this walking rope with hand straps would work for u https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0155...h+straps&psc=1
I love this! I was having trouble finding one that was a bit more secure than just trusting the kids to hold on to the rope. Thank you!
Reply
daisymay 10:36 PM 05-22-2018
Have you asked the parents if they are ok with all of this? You have said several times that you do not want alternatives but instead help with the logistics. If you canít figure out the logistics of this on your own knowing your group better than we do obviously I do not think you are making a wise decision. Just asking if you should wear matching colors in case you get seperated is beyond concerning to me. I think if you have not asked the parents yet you are likely to be met with a huge no way. I would never want my infant or toddler to ride on a public bus in a group with only one adult. Throw an end of the year party and invite the parents. Get a bounce house and some food.
Reply
mommyneedsadayoff 11:09 PM 05-22-2018
I am curious as to whether the parents have signed on for the trip as well. If they have, then here is my advice.

Don't do it. It sounds like a HUGE pain in the ass type trip to a place that your age group will probably not appreciate. I love Botanical Gardens, but my kids get bored after the first few flowers and they are not under five. It sounds like a lot of work and a huge liability for you. They will have so much more fun having a sprinkler day in the back yard and bonus points for an early nap time, since they will be worn out! If you insist on doing the trip, let parents know your exact plans so they can opt out. And your youngest four should be in a stroller or contained in some way(wear the baby). The four year old keeps a hand on the stroller the whole time. Pack up the bag to have everything you may need and keep your phone charged! Best of luck and hope you all enjoy your trip!
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Josiegirl 03:31 AM 05-23-2018
I applaud your intentions! And I think you're crazy. JK
I know I couldn't do it. I remember the days I used to take 6 dcks for a walk or to the library, it was difficult and scary. I cannot imagine taking a bus.
I love the idea of the backpack leashes, kids can take their own water bottles, extra clothes, etc., without you taking on a lot of extra weight. A baby carrier for sure. First aid kit along with the emergency cards that were mentioned.
I kind of hope, for your sake, either a parent volunteers to help, or someone chooses to not send their child. That's a lot for 1 person to handle.
Good luck!!! And don't forget to take pictures!!
Reply
Cat Herder 05:44 AM 05-23-2018
I don't want to be a downer but I can't see this as a safe choice.

A 5/1 ratio with one non-mobile and one barely mobile on public transportation, without an assistant, is relying on the grace of strangers in case of emergency.

Almost two hours confined on the bus then 4 hours at a garden is not developmentally appropriate for infants and toddlers.

You said only one of the five is a good walker and this is your very first year doing daycare. Please think on this on longer.

I think planting a class garden and playing in the sprinkler would be more fun for the kids.
Reply
amberrose3dg 06:48 AM 05-23-2018
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I don't want to be a downer but I can't see this as a safe choice.

A 5/1 ratio with one non-mobile and one barely mobile on public transportation, without an assistant, is relying on the grace of strangers in case of emergency.

Almost two hours confined on the bus then 4 hours at a garden is not developmentally appropriate for infants and toddlers.

You said only one of the five is a good walker and this is your very first year doing daycare. Please think on this on longer.

I think planting a class garden and playing in the sprinkler would be more fun for the kids.
I don't mean to be a downer but how do you plan to keep the kids in their seats on the bus. A 40 minute transit ride will be torture. I have two kids and at the time they were 2 and 5 on the Disney world bus. They would sometimes get tired of sitting and try to climb out their seat. I couldn't imagine trying to wrangle that many kids at once alone. If you insist on going , drive. I would also strongly consider having help for the day. I take my kids yearly to the pumpkin patch. I have my assistant and husband or oldest daughter go with me. We usually have 5 to 6 kids. That way there is an adult per two kids. You never know what a kid might do. They are wildly unpredictable. I hate for you to lose someone's child.
Reply
Unregistered 07:04 AM 05-23-2018
Another thing to think about is your daycare image when out in public. People are always judging. If it appears you are not managing the care and safety of the group near perfectly, word will spread.

In my opinion it is not worth the risk. As a client I would question your judgement in doing this, and would not want my child to participate. Should something occur, you could loose your entire group and future of your business. Too many factors to manage.
Reply
BGM 07:05 AM 05-23-2018
Well....Thanks to everyone who said this is impossible.

I appreciate the ultra realism and judgmental statements. I have decided to keep the kids at home and move my daycare location to under a rock.
Reply
Cat Herder 07:14 AM 05-23-2018
Originally Posted by BGM:
Well....Thanks to everyone who said this is impossible.
Not impossible.

Impractical.

Inappropriate.

Inexperienced.

Your words: "I'm still trying very hard to impress folks"

You asked for opinions from people with experience, that is what you got.
Reply
Blackcat31 07:22 AM 05-23-2018
I've taken multi age groups on field trips previously had good success. However, there were a few things I did to ensure safety. I had 3 adults present, had written approval from licensing, parents and insurance. I also practiced walking and listening while in a group for weeks prior to actually going.

I researched public transportation and how it works.
Do you need safety seats? Who is sitting with you and who is sitting in a separate seat as clearly you can't hold/seat 6 kids in one seat.

Snacks/drinks? Are you supplying them or will you purchase them there? Bottles? Are any infants still drinking from bottles? What will you do with the other children if one infant needs to eat? We are required by law to hold infants using a bottle so what is your plan if the other infant wants to drink/eat as well or if the toddlers run off while you are feeding a baby?

Also the cloth diaper thing....I wouldn't go against parental directives just to make it easier for the day without first getting the parents input/approval.

Are you licensed? Insured? Are both okay with this field trip?

Have you gotten parent's input and permission?
Do you have an assistant or second or possibly third caregiver that is available for assistance?

It's not fair to post and then get upset with the other posters opinions....you did ask.... plus, it's smart and realistic to consider ALL aspects.....even those you didn't think about verses just getting upset that others don't share your enthusiasm.

Several posters have asked questions about your plans and about what if scenarios and you haven't really addressed those...I'm curious as to your response to those safety questions and about your clients' input as well.

Once ALL the information is presented, perhaps some more usable and realistic advice can be given.
Reply
amberrose3dg 07:49 AM 05-23-2018
Originally Posted by BGM:
Well....Thanks to everyone who said this is impossible.

I appreciate the ultra realism and judgmental statements. I have decided to keep the kids at home and move my daycare location to under a rock.
We are not trying to be judgmental. I just know that the trip will be very difficult.
I would suggest driving and bringing along another adult. Utilize the stroller when possible. They also make things that can help keep the kids together like the kids walking rope.
Good luck!
Reply
storybookending 07:50 AM 05-23-2018
We are just trying to help, itís nice to get advice from people who have been there done that. Some that may have possibly tried something like what you are attempting and just offering words of caution as with kids or never goes on as planned.

I do not know anything about public transportation and how that works. How many does your stroller seat? Can they remain the the stroller while riding? Have you had the baby in a carrier a lot? Iím not sure on the size of your infant but I took my kids to the park last week and I wore the baby in a front carrier and after about 20 minutes I was over it. Heís a chub I though and not a little infant by any means. Heís old enough to be mobile enough at home but not to crawl around at that particular pea gravel covered park.

I keep a group similar to yours. I currently have 7 kids and Iím just trying to imagine taking the 5 that are around the ages you describe and I cannot even imagine doing it alone. Iím not saying it canít be done but being done and being done safely are two different things. I am interested to know if you have spoken to the parents about this at all and what their feedback is. Also the not napping going in the middle of the day is concerning. Esp on that bus ride home when Iím sure many are going to crash. Just giving you things to think about.

If you really are going to do this at the very least I suggest one extra set of hands. Pack light and things that can be packaged individually. When we go to the part we pack easy snacks like cherrios or graham crackers. Lunches like prepackaged sandwiches and ďpicnicĒ type foods. I carry ours in a lunchbox sized cooler and strap in on my quad stroller when we go to the park.
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mommyneedsadayoff 08:50 AM 05-23-2018
Originally Posted by BGM:

Am I crazy?? How do I a.) pull this off without losing somebody b.) bring everything I need, including lunches and diapers (one kid is CD) and c.) keep sane?

Do I need some leashes, a whistle, something??

I know it's a huge undertaking, but I close for the summer and really want the kids and parents to leave on a happy note. This is my first year in daycare, so I'm still trying very hard to impress folks.
Originally Posted by BGM:
Well....Thanks to everyone who said this is impossible.

I appreciate the ultra realism and judgmental statements. I have decided to keep the kids at home and move my daycare location to under a rock.
It's not judgment. It's experience. You asked if you're crazy and we gave you honest feedback. I know you are so excited to go on this trip, but I just don't think you're aware of all the possibilities that can go wrong. You said you were one year in, and most of the people responding to you on this forum have decades of experience, so if they wouldn't do it alone, I would take their advice to heart, verses getting upset over an answer you don't like to hear. I hate to be such a downer, but when you are asking questions on how not to lose a child, that means you're not ready to take them out on a trip of this kind. You still haven't answered If the parents have okayed the strip yet either. I feel like you want to impress them, but this might backfire on you. As a parent, I would definitely not be okay with this trip. Again, I'm sorry to be a buzz kill, and I hope you know that none of this is advice is said in a negative way. This is a super helpful forum/support group, so when you ask questions you get really good answers that have your best interest at heart!
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Cat Herder 09:37 AM 05-23-2018
Now I have a couple minutes to tell an experience of mine.

When I was 24, in my second year of home daycare, I decided to take 3 school aged girls 11-13 to the river at our state park for the afternoon. I packed lunches, first aid kits/sunscreen, got permission slips, brought ambulance forms, reserved a pavilion with running water and brought clean clothing to change into in the dressing rooms for the ride home.

When we got there a group of PITA's were already in our pavilion and refused to leave when I showed them my signed contract for the day, I had no recourse, there were no attendants or security on duty. We set up a picnic further down, alongside the river, far away from them as they became continuously verbally aggressive. We continued our day with a lesson on civics and swimming.

As we were swimming a couple drunk men approached us and began talking inappropriately, offered us drinks. We declined and kept moving further away, but they continued to approach and make suggestive comments. They were between us, our belongings and vehicle. This was before my first cell phone and handgun.

The girls and I ended up having to take the hiking trail completely around the entrance to the park to get back to our vehicle in order to avoid the drunk men and angry pavilion thieves. It took over an hour and they were terrified. Depending on the grace of the general public is never a good game plan. It just isn't.

I will never suggest taking other peoples kids out without another adult. Two if possible. I would not even do it with my own.
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Unregistered 09:50 AM 05-23-2018
I tried a similar trip back in my early days with a trip to the American Royale. We had 2 2 year olds and 2 1 year olds. I had another mother to help. With a ratio of 2:1 we thought we could handle it. Oh my goodness. It was a nightmare. At one point, we got swallowed by the crowd at the top two of steep stairs. If strangers hadn't helped, we certainly would have lost someone. Later, while waiting by an elevator, one of the 2s because bolted onto the elevator. We just barely caught him when the doors closed. I still have anxiety thinking about losing him and he's in college now! If you insist on doing the trip, please consider downsizing the trip, only take the older kids and get some help.
Reply
sharlan 11:45 AM 05-23-2018
I'm definitely not being judgemental, just realistic.

Not one of my kids would be interested in the botanical gardens, been there, tried that.

I've been doing this for 34 years. We go on at least 3 field trips a week during summer and school breaks. We go to the beach, a water park, movies, aquarium, zoos, parks, county fair, restaurants, etc. We even go whale watching. I consider myself experienced in field trips.

I will not go on any outing of that nature without at least one other adult. My personal max is 2 infant/toddlers per adult. That's what I'm comfortable with.

I've learned that I am not super woman and I'm not going to risk the safety of someone else's child to prove that I am.

My mom often told me not to ask a question if I didn't want the answer.
Reply
BGM 04:52 PM 06-04-2018
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Not impossible.

Impractical.

Inappropriate.

Inexperienced.

Your words: "I'm still trying very hard to impress folks"

You asked for opinions from people with experience, that is what you got.
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I've taken multi age groups on field trips previously had good success. However, there were a few things I did to ensure safety. I had 3 adults present, had written approval from licensing, parents and insurance. I also practiced walking and listening while in a group for weeks prior to actually going.

I researched public transportation and how it works.
Do you need safety seats? Who is sitting with you and who is sitting in a separate seat as clearly you can't hold/seat 6 kids in one seat.

Snacks/drinks? Are you supplying them or will you purchase them there? Bottles? Are any infants still drinking from bottles? What will you do with the other children if one infant needs to eat? We are required by law to hold infants using a bottle so what is your plan if the other infant wants to drink/eat as well or if the toddlers run off while you are feeding a baby?

Also the cloth diaper thing....I wouldn't go against parental directives just to make it easier for the day without first getting the parents input/approval.

Are you licensed? Insured? Are both okay with this field trip?

Have you gotten parent's input and permission?
Do you have an assistant or second or possibly third caregiver that is available for assistance?

It's not fair to post and then get upset with the other posters opinions....you did ask.... plus, it's smart and realistic to consider ALL aspects.....even those you didn't think about verses just getting upset that others don't share your enthusiasm.

Several posters have asked questions about your plans and about what if scenarios and you haven't really addressed those...I'm curious as to your response to those safety questions and about your clients' input as well.

Once ALL the information is presented, perhaps some more usable and realistic advice can be given.
Originally Posted by amberrose3dg:
We are not trying to be judgmental. I just know that the trip will be very difficult.
I would suggest driving and bringing along another adult. Utilize the stroller when possible. They also make things that can help keep the kids together like the kids walking rope.
Good luck!
Originally Posted by storybookending:
We are just trying to help, itís nice to get advice from people who have been there done that. Some that may have possibly tried something like what you are attempting and just offering words of caution as with kids or never goes on as planned.

I do not know anything about public transportation and how that works. How many does your stroller seat? Can they remain the the stroller while riding? Have you had the baby in a carrier a lot? Iím not sure on the size of your infant but I took my kids to the park last week and I wore the baby in a front carrier and after about 20 minutes I was over it. Heís a chub I though and not a little infant by any means. Heís old enough to be mobile enough at home but not to crawl around at that particular pea gravel covered park.

I keep a group similar to yours. I currently have 7 kids and Iím just trying to imagine taking the 5 that are around the ages you describe and I cannot even imagine doing it alone. Iím not saying it canít be done but being done and being done safely are two different things. I am interested to know if you have spoken to the parents about this at all and what their feedback is. Also the not napping going in the middle of the day is concerning. Esp on that bus ride home when Iím sure many are going to crash. Just giving you things to think about.

If you really are going to do this at the very least I suggest one extra set of hands. Pack light and things that can be packaged individually. When we go to the part we pack easy snacks like cherrios or graham crackers. Lunches like prepackaged sandwiches and ďpicnicĒ type foods. I carry ours in a lunchbox sized cooler and strap in on my quad stroller when we go to the park.
Originally Posted by mommyneedsadayoff:
It's not judgment. It's experience. You asked if you're crazy and we gave you honest feedback. I know you are so excited to go on this trip, but I just don't think you're aware of all the possibilities that can go wrong. You said you were one year in, and most of the people responding to you on this forum have decades of experience, so if they wouldn't do it alone, I would take their advice to heart, verses getting upset over an answer you don't like to hear. I hate to be such a downer, but when you are asking questions on how not to lose a child, that means you're not ready to take them out on a trip of this kind. You still haven't answered If the parents have okayed the strip yet either. I feel like you want to impress them, but this might backfire on you. As a parent, I would definitely not be okay with this trip. Again, I'm sorry to be a buzz kill, and I hope you know that none of this is advice is said in a negative way. This is a super helpful forum/support group, so when you ask questions you get really good answers that have your best interest at heart!
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Now I have a couple minutes to tell an experience of mine.

When I was 24, in my second year of home daycare, I decided to take 3 school aged girls 11-13 to the river at our state park for the afternoon. I packed lunches, first aid kits/sunscreen, got permission slips, brought ambulance forms, reserved a pavilion with running water and brought clean clothing to change into in the dressing rooms for the ride home.

When we got there a group of PITA's were already in our pavilion and refused to leave when I showed them my signed contract for the day, I had no recourse, there were no attendants or security on duty. We set up a picnic further down, alongside the river, far away from them as they became continuously verbally aggressive. We continued our day with a lesson on civics and swimming.

As we were swimming a couple drunk men approached us and began talking inappropriately, offered us drinks. We declined and kept moving further away, but they continued to approach and make suggestive comments. They were between us, our belongings and vehicle. This was before my first cell phone and handgun.

The girls and I ended up having to take the hiking trail completely around the entrance to the park to get back to our vehicle in order to avoid the drunk men and angry pavilion thieves. It took over an hour and they were terrified. Depending on the grace of the general public is never a good game plan. It just isn't.

I will never suggest taking other peoples kids out without another adult. Two if possible. I would not even do it with my own.
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
I tried a similar trip back in my early days with a trip to the American Royale. We had 2 2 year olds and 2 1 year olds. I had another mother to help. With a ratio of 2:1 we thought we could handle it. Oh my goodness. It was a nightmare. At one point, we got swallowed by the crowd at the top two of steep stairs. If strangers hadn't helped, we certainly would have lost someone. Later, while waiting by an elevator, one of the 2s because bolted onto the elevator. We just barely caught him when the doors closed. I still have anxiety thinking about losing him and he's in college now! If you insist on doing the trip, please consider downsizing the trip, only take the older kids and get some help.
Originally Posted by sharlan:
I'm definitely not being judgemental, just realistic.

Not one of my kids would be interested in the botanical gardens, been there, tried that.

I've been doing this for 34 years. We go on at least 3 field trips a week during summer and school breaks. We go to the beach, a water park, movies, aquarium, zoos, parks, county fair, restaurants, etc. We even go whale watching. I consider myself experienced in field trips.

I will not go on any outing of that nature without at least one other adult. My personal max is 2 infant/toddlers per adult. That's what I'm comfortable with.

I've learned that I am not super woman and I'm not going to risk the safety of someone else's child to prove that I am.

My mom often told me not to ask a question if I didn't want the answer.
Originally Posted by daisymay:
Have you asked the parents if they are ok with all of this? You have said several times that you do not want alternatives but instead help with the logistics. If you canít figure out the logistics of this on your own knowing your group better than we do obviously I do not think you are making a wise decision. Just asking if you should wear matching colors in case you get seperated is beyond concerning to me. I think if you have not asked the parents yet you are likely to be met with a huge no way. I would never want my infant or toddler to ride on a public bus in a group with only one adult. Throw an end of the year party and invite the parents. Get a bounce house and some food.
Originally Posted by mommyneedsadayoff:
I am curious as to whether the parents have signed on for the trip as well. If they have, then here is my advice.

Don't do it. It sounds like a HUGE pain in the ass type trip to a place that your age group will probably not appreciate. I love Botanical Gardens, but my kids get bored after the first few flowers and they are not under five. It sounds like a lot of work and a huge liability for you. They will have so much more fun having a sprinkler day in the back yard and bonus points for an early nap time, since they will be worn out! If you insist on doing the trip, let parents know your exact plans so they can opt out. And your youngest four should be in a stroller or contained in some way(wear the baby). The four year old keeps a hand on the stroller the whole time. Pack up the bag to have everything you may need and keep your phone charged! Best of luck and hope you all enjoy your trip!
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
I applaud your intentions! And I think you're crazy. JK
I know I couldn't do it. I remember the days I used to take 6 dcks for a walk or to the library, it was difficult and scary. I cannot imagine taking a bus.
I love the idea of the backpack leashes, kids can take their own water bottles, extra clothes, etc., without you taking on a lot of extra weight. A baby carrier for sure. First aid kit along with the emergency cards that were mentioned.
I kind of hope, for your sake, either a parent volunteers to help, or someone chooses to not send their child. That's a lot for 1 person to handle.
Good luck!!! And don't forget to take pictures!!
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I don't want to be a downer but I can't see this as a safe choice.

A 5/1 ratio with one non-mobile and one barely mobile on public transportation, without an assistant, is relying on the grace of strangers in case of emergency.

Almost two hours confined on the bus then 4 hours at a garden is not developmentally appropriate for infants and toddlers.

You said only one of the five is a good walker and this is your very first year doing daycare. Please think on this on longer.

I think planting a class garden and playing in the sprinkler would be more fun for the kids.
Originally Posted by amberrose3dg:
I don't mean to be a downer but how do you plan to keep the kids in their seats on the bus. A 40 minute transit ride will be torture. I have two kids and at the time they were 2 and 5 on the Disney world bus. They would sometimes get tired of sitting and try to climb out their seat. I couldn't imagine trying to wrangle that many kids at once alone. If you insist on going , drive. I would also strongly consider having help for the day. I take my kids yearly to the pumpkin patch. I have my assistant and husband or oldest daughter go with me. We usually have 5 to 6 kids. That way there is an adult per two kids. You never know what a kid might do. They are wildly unpredictable. I hate for you to lose someone's child.
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
Another thing to think about is your daycare image when out in public. People are always judging. If it appears you are not managing the care and safety of the group near perfectly, word will spread.

In my opinion it is not worth the risk. As a client I would question your judgement in doing this, and would not want my child to participate. Should something occur, you could loose your entire group and future of your business. Too many factors to manage.
Thank you all for your help. You all had excellent suggestions and words of advice. I'm sorry if I was an ingrate. I really do appreciate what you were saying.

I read and re-read all of your answers and figured out a very thorough plan for my field trip.

I guess first, I should say the parents were all very enthusiastic about the trip. They loved the idea! I did ask them if anyone would be able to come along and one parent agreed.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, we practiced walking around the neighborhood, I bought a walking rope and the kids enjoyed using it. I'm pretty sure it made them want to walk more. I wrote up emergency plans for me and my chaperone to keep with us and packed individual snacks and lunches for everyone for easy cleanup.

I decided to carry the little baby in a carrier and have the almost toddler walk the 50 yards to our bus stop. We did end up bringing the stroller and it was very helpful, though a bit clunky. The bus ride ended up being really nice even when it was crowded. The children did an awesome job using their inside voices on the bus and playing games, etc while we waited patiently to get to our destination. Same thing on the way back. They were almost perfect!

Once there, they had an absolute blast. It was so nice to see them enjoy the plants and talk about the similarities and differences between the "big garden" and our own veggie garden at home. They absolutely loved it!

There were a couple snags here and there. Funny enough, almost all of them involved poop, but I prepared very well and everyone left clean, safe and happy!

They napped like nobody's business when we got back.

Happy kids, happy parents, happy provider!

We will definitely do this again. The only thing I would change is requiring at least one extra set of hands as many of you suggested, instead of asking and hoping for one. Maybe I'll even look into finding my own local volunteers to have on hand who have background checks and that sort of thing. We'll see...

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storybookending 07:02 PM 06-04-2018
I am glad that it went relatively smooth for you and that you had a parent helper! Enjoy your summer off.
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Josiegirl 03:00 AM 06-05-2018
I'm glad to hear it went well and you all had a great time!!! You sound like you prepared for everything that you could! And poop isn't really something you can prepare for; it'll happen when it happens. Sounds like you were able to impress the parents.
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Blackcat31 07:38 AM 06-05-2018
Sounds like you had an awesome and uneventful (other than poop ) field trip!! Thats great!

Now you'll be an experienced field tripper.... and know what to change and not change the next time around!

Glad you all had fun!!
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Tags:field trip, logistics, mixed ages, public transportation issues, walking safety
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