If your tween is in middle school
you might be tempted to chaperone a field trip at some point during the year. Chaperoning a trip is a great way to stay involved in your child's education and to have a little fun as well. If you're considering chaperoning a trip, the tips below should help.
How to Chaperone a Middle School Field Trip
Do Your Research: Before the trip try to find out some interesting information about your destination. You can share the information with the children, and help them learn more while on the trip. However, it's important to allow the children to share their knowledge as well, and don't be surprised if they try to impress you with all they know.
Know Your Instructions: The teacher will likely supply you with a list of instructions and rules. It's very important that you follow these pointers very carefully. Know if your group is allowed to visit the gift shop, investigate on your own, or if you're allowed to take photos or video. If you break a rule, the children in your group might be tempted to do the same. Remember, you're on the trip to provide support to the school and the teacher.
Watch Out for Bullying: Bullying behavior peaks during the middle school years. Be aware of bullying behavior and take notice of how the children behave when they think you're not listening or can't see them. If you notice improper behavior, address it, or ask the teacher to separate the individuals involved. Middle schoolers like to push the envelope so if you encounter bad behavior, don't be surprised. Just be sure you address the behavior as quickly as possible. Also, it's not a bad idea to lay down your rules at the beginning of the trip. You could introduce yourself, talk a bit about how excited you are to be on the trip and then discuss your expectations and rules.
Note the Dynamics of the Group: Sometimes bullying isn't the problem, sometimes when friends get together it turns into a giggle fest. If you think a group of friends needs to be broken up, suggest the idea to the teacher. If the students are having too much fun, they may not be learning, and that's really the point of the field trip.
Don't Play Favorites: If your child or his or her friends are in your group it would be tempting to give them extra attention or allow them to get away with behavior that you wouldn't tolerate from others in the group. Be sure you treat the children equally. If you think your child might be problematic because you're there, consider asking that he or she not be in your group.
Be the Parent: Be sure you remind the kids to apply sunscreen if you're going to be outside for an extended period of time, or to stay hydrated if it's really warm out. If a child falls ill while on the field trip, contact the teacher right away.
Enjoy Yourself: Even though you're in a position of responsibility on the field trip, be sure to enjoy your experience and have a little fun. If the children see you enjoying yourself, they might have fun as well. Enjoy the experience and enjoy the time you're spending with your child and his classmates.
Note: It might be fun to buy a little souvenir for the members of your group, and then present them when back at school.