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!