This year, was the first time I missed something at Lydia’s school. Her class went on their first field trip…..and I couldn’t go. It devastated me. I felt horrible. As a teacher, I love field trips. And her class field trip? Happened to be on a day that I had a huge presentation at MY school. There was no way I could do both.
After my initial cryfest, I realized……for most working parents this is a constant issue. Right? Luckily, my school is very close to Lydia’s. I have the luxury of visiting for her Halloween parade, picking her up at 3 pm, and being present for MOST activities. But what if you have a commute? Or the type of job you can’t miss?
As we’re all gearing up to go back to school, I wanted to share a few ways that parents can be involved in their children’s classrooms even if they aren’t able to be physically present during the school day.
7 Classroom Volunteer Ideas for Working Parents
Donate to the Classroom Library: Teachers can ALWAYS use more books. For extra fun? Select a book for a specific theme or holiday, and send it for the teacher to read (be sure to ask if they have any requests).
Stock the Classroom Snacks: In many schools, students are often in need of snacks. Whether for financial reasons, or because they simply forgot to bring something to school that day…….kids needing extra snacks are a constant issue. Most teachers keep a stash of snacks for hungry kiddos. Offer to stock the snack closet……trust me, the kids and teacher will thank you!
Organize the Parent Volunteer Schedule: You may not be able to volunteer during the school day, but you can help coordinate the people that can (trust me, coordinating parent volunteers can be time consuming for teachers….and I’d happily accept some help with it)! SignUp.com is my biggest tip as both a teacher and a busy parent. You plan a virtual sign up sheet, then send to all parents. They can easily sign up, and it even automatically syncs with their calendars! It’s amazing, and makes it so much easier to coordinate volunteer opportunities. Plus, it’s a GREAT way to be involved even if you can’t be there for math centers or field trips. Evening or Weekend Prep: I can’t tell you how much time I spend cutting, organizing flashcards, and putting together packets. This is all done during the evening or on the weekends. Ask your child’s teacher if you can help with some of this prep over the weekend and bring it back on Monday. I’ve even seen teachers set up prep at home folders. Kids can take home projects to be cut out and prepared for the next school week…..and the cool part? When they do that flashcard activity or math center, they feel great knowing their parents contributed to it! Special Talents: Are you great at video editing? Cupcake baking? Social Media? Offer to manage something special for the school that leans on YOUR strengths. Support Evening Events:Back-to-School Night is a perfect opportunity for working parents. Offer to help while you can. Can you come in 30 minutes early and help set up chairs? Offer to help clean up at the end of the night? Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t. Classroom Parties and Gifts: Are you a total Pinterest mom? Then class party prep is for you! Offer to help with making decorations, preparing snacks or games, or even holiday gifts.
What are your favorite ways to contribute to your child’s school?