10 Tips for Room Moms — Mommy Daze

My oldest son started Kindergarten this year and like all good over-achieving, Pinterest-loving, multi-tasking moms, I signed up to be his class’s “Room Mom”. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into!

rsz 10 tips for room momsI loved being a part of my son’s school experience when he attended a small pre-kindergarten co-op, so I wanted to keep that relationship going as he entered elementary school. But I knew in public school there are less opportunities for parent involvement. A preschool mom suggested I volunteer as his Room Mom to stay connected with his class, teacher, and get to have an inside look at the school. I am grateful to have a flexible enough schedule to do this.

I’ve learned a couple things along the way, so if you’re looking to volunteer as a Room Mom in your child’s class, here are some tips.

#1) Ask the teacher what they expect of you as the “Room Mom” for that year. Each teacher is different. If needed, let them know any days you are not available and have good boundaries on leaving class at a certain time. (my teacher admitted she would keep me busy the whole day if I didn’t leave on my own accord)

#2) Reach out to all the parents in the class early in the year to introduce yourself, share your contact info, and your plans for class donations and anticipated sign-ups that they can expect throughout the year.

#3) Snag craft and game supplies throughout the year when you see them on sale! Pinterest is a great resource for ideas on classroom parties but remember to keep them simple and quick. Getting twenty or more students to do a craft and a game takes a lot more time than you’d think.

#4) Ask if any other parents have daytime availability to come help with parties or classroom activities. Some parents can help if they have enough notice. Parties especially take a lot of hands to help the kids with cutting, gluing, and all the other party fun that happens in a short period of time.

#5) When planning parties, try sending out a sign-up list of items needed. I’ve found Sign-up Genius to be an easy, free website for this task. Have them send in the items the day BEFORE they’re needed, so you can make sure you have enough of everything.

#6) Don’t forget about the Teacher’s Aide when planning Teacher Gifts. They tend to get overlooked, but sometimes are the most valuable asset to the teachers and deserve our appreciation! They can also be helpful in finding out gift-card ideas for the teacher, as they probably know more about them than you do.

#7) Get to know the school and the other teachers while you’re volunteering! A quick roam around the school and I knew where the other Kindergarten classes were, the copy room, health room, etc. This helps immensely when the teacher sends you on an errand and you don’t have to waste time wandering or asking for directions.

#8) Be extra nice to the front office staff. They’re going to see you a LOT and a friendly smile can help make a rough morning better for them.

#9) Keep notes on what works and what doesn’t as a Room Mom! More than likely, if you do a good job, and you enjoy it, you’ll probably end up doing it again for your child’s next class. I made a point to make games that were laminated or put together in a certain way that I could re-use them in the future. Again, there are a lot of Pinterest Boards dedicated just to Room Mom projects, but I’ve found a lot of them to be unrealistic for large class sizes. Try them out on your own child first and see how long it takes them.

#10) Have fun! Enjoy this fleeting time getting to watch your child interact with their classmates and their teacher. Get to know the other kids and share fun stories or observations with the parents. They greatly appreciate it. At parties I take pictures and send them to the whole class through Google Photos. Soon enough my kids won’t want me around at school, so I’m taking advantage of every moment I can get!

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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 5-year-old James and 3-year-old Luke.

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