A good Room Parent can make the year go really smoothly for the teacher and the parents, so it’s not a role to overlook when training and equipping with resources.
One of the quickest ways to learn what to do as a room parent is to get a head up about pitfalls to be aware of.
After all, no one likes to makes mistakes and the role of Room Parent or Room Mom (or Dad!) is one that has the opportunity for many mistakes to happen, so let’s talk about some of the top mistakes people make in their role as Room Parent.
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.
This doesn’t mean you have to form a committee to decide every single thing, but the Room Parent isn’t responsible for making all of the decisions themselves.
In fact, they shouldn’t be unless they want to alienate the other parents.
Instead, make a point to include the other parents as much as possible and practical.
Mistake #2: Doing Everything Yourself
Building upon the first mistake outlined above, 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 that they don’t want to miss.
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 what they need them to do.
Similarly, 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.
This is especially important to cover in advance of any class parties!
What to ask the teacher though?
Check out this post for 7 questions to get answers to for the best class party planning and prep.
Mistake #4: Playing Favorites
This next mistake is a huge one that has the potential for negative consequences for the Room Parent individually, as well as the PTO long term:
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 once you know what the teacher most loves!