Field trips create some of the most fun memories students can have. And while we're all for having fun, we also want to ensure safety - just to make sure everyone returns home to their family. We've compiled a list for parents to keep your kids safe as they go to new places with their school friends.
Talk to your kids
The first rule of field trip safety is to talk to your kids. Especially if it's their first field trip, share with them what to expect (from riding the bus to at the final destination). Talk to them about the importance of staying with the group. Encourage them to stay close to their teacher or chaperone.
Explain that a field trip is a fun privilege, but that they still need to follow the same rules when they are with you. The more you talk to them, the better they will understand the rules, even though you may not be there to supervise.
Talk to the teacher
Entrusting your child in someone else's care is a huge step for any parent. It can be unnerving to think of your kids traveling, visiting new places and being under another adult's supervision when they start going on field trips.
If you have concerns, talk to the teacher to find out more about the field trip before you commit. Ask about the adult to child ratio, if emergency contact information for each child will be taken, and what transportation will be used.Will they stop for lunch? What time will the class leave and what time will they return? What will the excursion cost?
If you don't feel 100% comfortable with the answers, ask if you can help chaperone. That way, your child can attend and you can see firsthand how school field trips are managed.
Send your contact information
Kids as young as four years old start going on field trips in some preschools. Even children who know their phone number may be too scared to tell someone should they get separated from the group. An injured child may be unable to speak your name and phone number. A crying child trying to tell someone her mommy's name may not be understood.
To prevent any mix-ups (and to give you peace of mind), put your name and phone number in as many places as possible on your child the day of the field trip. Label his/her clothes, put a piece of paper in her pocket, even write your phone number on his/her palm.
Some may think this is overkill. But if your child was lost and couldn't say his/her phone number, wouldn't you rather know that your contact information is everywhere it can be so that he/she can be returned to you promptly?
Make kids stand out
Dress your children in brightly-colored clothes for the field trip. Use common sense: a brown shirt won't make your child stand out on the wilderness field trip. Avoid dark clothes or colors that will blend in, depending on where the field trip is located. Go for shirts that are yellow, pink, aqua and other bright colors.
Your child should be easy to spot in any kind of environment, whether they're inside at a museum or outside at a park.
Send special instructions
If your child has special circumstances the teacher needs to be aware of, you've probably already alerted the school. However, you might want to remind your child's teacher and inform anyone else who may be going on this field trip that your child has special needs that require attention.
Whether it's food allergies or medications, send a list of instructions with your child. Follow up with the teacher to make sure she received your note and that they'll be taken with your child on the field trip.
By talking to your kids and the teacher, sending contact information, making your kids stand out and sharing special instructions you are well on your way to providing a safe and fun field trip experience for your children.