Have you just stepped up (or been selected!) to be your child’s Class Room Parent and now wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into?
You’ll absolutely love this the tips in this post to not only help you get started in your new role, but also support and guide you throughout the entire year and also help you avoid some stumbling blocks too.
That’s right, we’re calling out some big mistakes to avoid, so be sure to not miss them.e
Alrightly then, let’s dive right on in!
Duties of Room Parents
Being a Room Parent is so much more than planning parties or coordinating treats for the kids.
And the specific duties of Room Parents can vary from school to school and PTO to PTO too.
But generally, here’s the list of responsibilities of the Room Parent:
- Planning class parties
- Coordinating classroom volunteers
- Coordinating at home volunteer and donation opportunities
- Communicating PTO meeting, fundraiser and event information to students’ families
- Coordinating end of year teacher gift
- Decorating Classroom door for Teacher Appreciation Week
- Help plan and/or execute Staff Appreciation Week activities
- Promote PTO goals
Who Chooses Room Parents
Some schools delegate the Room Parent Program to the PTO because it’s easier to have parent volunteers coordinating communication and class parties across classrooms.
This goes a long way to ensuring classroom parties are similar and kids in one class don’t feel left out of the fun because another parent goes hog wild with treats and activities galore for a class party.
Other times, the classroom teachers select a parent to help coordinate and communication with the students’ families.
Their choice is either based on an existing relationship with a parent, or a wild guess about who would be a good organizer to help with activities throughout the year!
Traits of a Strong Room Parent
Wondering what skills and traits one needs to be an absolute rock star Room Parent?
Here’s a list of the most important ones:
- Excellent communication skills
- Honed Planning skills
- Good organizational skills
- Excellent follow through
- Is fair and gives equal chance for involvement
- Enjoys collaborating with others
- Acts as a partner with the classroom teacher
4 Huge Mistakes to Avoid as a Room Parent
No one likes to makes mistakes and the role of Room Parent is one that has the opportunity for many mistakes to happen, so give this section special consideration.
Mistake #1: Mistaking the Room Parent Role for a Royal Investiture
In other words, the Room Parent is not the Queen bee decision maker.
The Room Parent should be working with the teacher as well as other interested parent volunteers to make decisions about activities and needs for the classroom.
Mistake #2: Doing Everything Yourself
Being Room Parent doesn’t mean that you are the only parent who can or should be doing things.
Instead, you are the parent who is supposed to be coordinating with the teacher to get a list of opportunities to donate items or volunteer time.
And then and communicate those opportunities to the other parents and rotate opportunities among willing volunteers.
Parents who work full time may not be able to take the day off from work to help out with the Halloween Party.
But they certainly can send in items for the party!
It might not seem like a big deal to send in napkins, but to the parent who can’t be there, it actually is an important contribution.
Keep in mind that you’re the lead parent that connects all of the families in the class.
Bottom line: Give everyone a chance to be involved.
Mistake #3: Assuming What the Teacher Wants
Every teacher will have a different idea about what a Room Parent should do.
And every teacher will have different needs for supplies and volunteers.
Some more than others on both fronts.
So it’s important to figure this out as quickly as possible and not assume you have it covered.
Set up a meeting with the teacher to review expectations and plans and get it all worked out.
Mistake #4: Playing Favorites
Avoid giving your BFFs first choice at volunteer and donation opportunities in the classroom.
Instead, give a chance for all interested parents to get involved, on whatever level they’re able, whether it s coming in for hands on help or sending in a pack or two of stickers.
Allow participation on whatever level parents are willing to give.
And absolutely be fair in letting all participate.
Make it first come, first served for the first classroom party.
Let parents know that they should expect to come in and help with parties most likely no more than once a year to give everyone a chance to help.
Because some teachers don’t want a whole hoard of parents in the class since it’s overwhelming for the kids and the teacher (and you!) to manage, you’ll need to rotate through the list of interested parents.
For subsequent parties, give the first opportunity for in person class party help to parents who didn’t get a chance to come in for the first party.
Continue like this until all parents have had a chance to come in and help before allowing parents to come in for a second class party.
Top Resources for Room Parents
Want even more help to be the best Room Parent ever? Enter the Room Parent Success Kit!
This resource tool kit has everything you’ll need to be such a fantastic Room Parent.
You will absolutely love the customizable and editable pre-worded letter to parents and the checklist to follow when meeting with the teacher so you don’t skip a beat!
And if your school is looking at starting a Room Parent Program, then you will be so grateful to have the Head Room Parent Manual that lays out in detail the role and responsibility of the position for your school.
Another fabulous resource for Room Parents is this Favorite Things survey set.
No matter which theme you choose, apple or pencil, you’re sure to easily pick out the most perfect class gift when you know what the teacher most loves!
Over to you!
Hope this post has cleared up some questions and sparked some inspiration for you in your role as Room Parent!