Now that school, scouting and sports activities are underway the need for volunteers for these organizations is in full swing. We all want to help out and get involved in our kids school or extracurricular activities, right? It’s a great way to meet your kids’ friends so you can put faces to their stories. It’s also a nice way to meet other parents in your area. Even when your kids are teens and it may not be cool to be seen with Mom, some readers have assured me that their teens really do appreciate seeing their parents get involved in their world.
However, don’t let volunteering stress you out or become a burden. I want to stay involved in my kids’ schools and they aren’t overbooked with activities, but some days the requests for help seem overwhelming. Or, some Moms tell me that they feel such guilt to contribute that they volunteer, but it adds stress to their lives and they end up resenting it. If that is how you feel, stop!
Sure, schools and organizations need all of the volunteer help they can get. But, everyone is at a different point in their life. If you have the time to volunteer and enjoy it, do so.
You may want to organize the Book Fair this year because you have some great ideas on how to make it better. Great! But, if work is just crazy for you, then cut yourself some slack and only do what you can. The last thing you want to do is commit to a project and not deliver or do it poorly because you resent the time.
Have no fear, there are plenty of different ways to give back and each year you can volunteer at a different level. Here are some tips to help you decide how you want to volunteer.
1. Every year is different.
Some years, my schedule was flexible so I could chaperone field trips, help set up the book fair, and bake for the Holiday Bake Sale. Some years work was all consuming and I had no time, so I sent in supplies or treats and only volunteered for activities in my child’s class, not for the whole school. If you have a tough year ahead, don’t be afraid to say “no”. There will always be opportunities to help the following year.
2. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path.
Don’t think that you are limited to the tasks you see on a sign-up sheet. If you work full-time or just have a crazy busy schedule, ask if there are tasks or projects you can do at home to help out, when you have downtime. Cutting projects, sorting, computer research, and a host of easy-but-still time-consuming activities could really help the teacher or scouting leader. There is always work needed to be done, just ask your child’s teacher, coach, or scout leader what you can do to help. You can also do these tasks WITH your child to show them the value of being involved and helping others.
3. Get smart and go to school!
If you signed up to be Room Mom this year, don’t panic. There are some great resources out there to help you with ideas so you don’t have to recreate the wheel. I love RoomMomSpot.com as a site with plenty of ideas for classroom parties, activities, and even a run down of common Room Mom duties. Download their free ebook, the Room Mom’s Survival Guide. It’s offered by the incredibly helpful people at VolunteerSpot.com, a great resource offering online sign-up sheets, scheduling tips, and volunteer management software and that makes coordinating volunteers easier for classroom Moms, scouting leaders, teachers, and coaches.
However you enjoy getting involved in your child’s school or activities is perfectly fine and should be appreciated by the teachers, scout leaders, coaches and your child. Give yourself a break – there’s no guilt needed here. Decide how much you want to give and then enjoy!
How do you fit the time into your schedule to volunteer for your child’s school or other activities?
Read all of our Back-to-School tips and sanity saving ideas here.