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Room parenting and the working mom?

You don't have to stay at home in order to be involved in your child's classroom

by MommyEntrepreneur  |  7806 views  |  8 comments  |        Rate this now! 

School is starting and the teacher is asking for room parent volunteers. You would like to play a bigger role in your child’s classroom, but it just doesn’t seem possible. Well, you can.

In fact, working moms make great room parents. A room parent is a facilitator, someone who takes on a lot of little projects, delegates and manages them. As a working mom, these are skills you use every day just to survive home and work. Tap into these skills as a room parent.

There are a lot of great articles on room parenting – but often, those suggestions require more face-time commitment than most full-time working moms have. But the principles behind these articles can be applied and modified for the working mom. I’m not going to fool you – it’s not a walk in the park, but it is do-able and worth the effort.

If you are up for the challenge, here are some tried and true tips on how you can be an effective working mom room parent and live to talk about it!

1.) Recruit a co-room parent. This could be another working mom or a stay-at-home mom. Having co-room parents make it easier to stay on top of classroom events and to cover for you in the event of a sudden meeting or business trip. Split up the responsibilities between the two of you. Your co-room parent could be responsible for the communication with the teacher and you could be responsible for planning events and creating sign-up sheets.

2.) Get your classroom online ASAP. Use new startup group services (Qlubb, Bigtent, Convos, Center'd) as your third co-room parent. By putting events, sign-up sheets, rosters online, you significantly reduce the need to communicate and remind parents of events and volunteering opportunities.

3.) Ask for help from other parents. Parents actually like to help -- most just want to know specifically help. In your introductory email, solicit skills and interests from the parent body. Some responsibilities that can be easily delegated to other parents include -- class photographer, class treasurer, book club manager (e.g. monthly scholastic book club), recess coordinator. Have everyone coordinate the respective activities on the classroom group site.

4.) Make an effort to attend outside-of-the-classroom events like birthday parties and playdates. Part of being a room parent is being in touch with what is going on among the families. So, if you cannot participate in the post-drop off coffee talks, make an effort to attend as many weekend birthday parties and playdates -- so that parents get to know you and feel comfortable working with you.
Enjoy!

About the Author

Sophia is the mother of 2 young children and also a full-time Web2.0 entrepreneur. In addition to being Qlubb's CEO,she has now started a new school year as a room parent to both of her children's classrooms.

Read more by MommyEntrepreneur

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    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 31st December 2011

  • You should also check out http://www.classroomcommunities.com where you can set up a private social network for your classroom. Classroom Communities helps build a strong family community around a teachers classroom and makes many of those room parent tasks easier.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ClassroomComm on 20th February 2011

  • I would love to try this, and our current room-mom team is 1 working mom, 1 SAHM. They're doing a great job. I still feel like it would require a LOT of face-time during the critical work hours, at least at our school. But definitely something to think about. (Maybe it will be easier as the kids get older, too -- I'm thinking 6th graders might not need as much room-mom involvement as 1st graders!) Thanks for posting!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by el-e-e on 9th February 2011

  • Mom2Ryleie..Im in Northern California and room parents are the norm at our schools and we are a low income area with only 6g per student ( state aveg is nearly 11g)

    I am the mother of 6 children and I have vol in each one classroom either as a room mother or helping with special events.

    One of the main reasons I started my biz is so I could be involved in their school life. As long as I know about the project/event/need in advance I can work it into my schedule. SOmetime I make calls,send emails or do printing. Other time Im in the class or on the feild trip.

    THe only issue I have is that every year there is a mom who makes a remark about about working moms needing to do more.

    It drives me nuts because every mom helps out in the way that fits best for her family ,so why is there this need to judge?

    Is the mom who spends everyday at the school and is on every committee really better then the mom who can only donate food/$$ due to work schedule?

    NO

    I know alot of my working girlfriends feel push out of helping....you article is a great remiinder that moms can make mom life and work life come together in harmony

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Brandy @ BanishTheBadMoodMama.com on 15th September 2008

  • I wonder if this is a regional thing. I don't remember ever having "room parents" in elementary school growing up. As a public school teacher, I've never heard of having a "room parent" either. Maybe they don't do that in California? Or maybe they don't do that in the low-income areas where I teach?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mom2Rylie on 12th September 2008

  • This is great advice. I was co-room parent for my oldest daughter's class last year and it was a great experience. We were able to split the party duties and even take turns on a couple of the parties since I was going to be on a business trip for one of them. We worked really well together and came up with some great party ideas.

    This year I am looking forward to co-room parent duties again for my youngest daughter's class as well as coordinating the class project for my oldest daughter's kindergarten class.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mary Brosch on 3rd September 2008

  • Thank you for this extremely practical advice -- I would love to do this next year for my daughter, when she starts kindergarten, so printed this out:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 3rd September 2008

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