Whether it is a youth group outing, school trip or teen party, parents often find themselves in charge of supervising a group of teenagers. This can be a little intimidating, especially if you are feeling outnumbered. Here is how to supervise a group of teens and not lose your nerve.
Time Required: Depends on the activity.
- Introduce yourself to the group and establish your place as the fair but firm supervisor right from the start by stating your purpose for being there. While you don’t want to be a stick in the mud, you are in charge of the safety of each teen in the group. In order for teens to feel safe, they will need the sense of security of knowing an dependable adult is there for them.
- Go over the reason for the trip/group activity. Be sure to state the expectations you have of each teen. For example, when you take teens caroling for a cause, you can say, "Tonight we are going caroling. I hope everyone is ready to sing!"
- Lay out the timeline for the activity. Give approximate times of when the group will stop to eat or take a break. This is as important for a 2-hour activity as it is for a week-long trip.
- Ask about any health concerns that you may need to know about. For instance, a bee sting allergy is a big concern for those who are going camping.
- Listen to the concerns of the teens in the group. Be flexible. Change the plans accordingly, if necessary.
- If the group will be going from one place to another, get a head count. Check your head count every time the group moves, before you leave an area. You may also want to set up a buddy system.
- Allow the teens to be as independent as possible. The more they are together with their teen group, without you over their shoulder, the more fun they will have.
- Follow through with any consequences for misbehavior. Any deviation of this will undermine your authority with the rest of the teen group.
- Last, but not least, have fun! Put a real smile on your face and enjoy.
- If you are having teens at your home for a get together, you may have to go over the house rules in small groups as they arrive. Yes, you will sound like a broken record, but everyone needs the same clear message.
- If the activity is a daylong trip or an overnight, the rules and a timeline of the activity should be written out and given as a handout. Then it can be read over together.
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