12 tips on how to volunteer at your child’s school without feeling guilty
How many of us would love to drop all of our responsibilities and just spend time helping others? If we had the opportunity I’m sure many of us would take it, but let’s face it a lot of us just don’t have the time. Whether it be work, taking care of your family, or extracurricular activities with multiple children, there are not enough hours in the day. Two of my kids are in elementary school this year and juggling my time between volunteering and working from home has been a difficult task. It is especially difficult with more than one child because you always feel guilty volunteering in one class and not the other.
Here is a solution to that problem. Everyone always thinks they have to put in hours on end to fulfill their volunteer duties, but in all honesty that is not the case. Taking 20 minutes out of your day will make more of a difference than you realize.
Teachers and schools are always looking for more help. The list below will give you some ideas on what can be done. Some tasks are more time-consuming than others so pick what works for you.
- Read to the class: Teacher’s love when parents pay a visit to the classroom and read a few books to the students. It gives them a break and a chance to catch up on things, and the best part is it will bring a huge smile to your child’s face.
- Ask to take home some work: Teachers always have a lot of tasks on their plate, most of which they have to complete on their own time. It may be small tasks like stapling papers, or prepping stuff for an art lesson, but a bunch of smaller tasks can add up quickly. Don’t hesitate to offer help because I am sure the teacher will be happy to hand over what he/she can’t handle.
- Offer to help organize the classroom: This one depends on the teacher your child has because some teachers are already very organized but there are others who are all over the place. This could mean organizing the student’s work, straightening out the classroom library, or cleaning and organizing cabinets. Whatever the work you do is, I’m sure the teacher will greatly appreciate it.
- Help with the reading or art program: This one can be a little more time-consuming, but if your school has a reading or art program, volunteers are always needed for that! It’s usually a lesson once a month and if it’s something you enjoy doing, why not join? Just imagine the look on your child’s face when they see you teach an art or reading lesson. That look itself makes it all worth it. (There maybe some requirements for this so make sure to ask the school office what they are)
- Offer to help file student work: This is such a simple task, but for a teacher who has hundreds of other things on her plate, it will mean the world. You can stay for 20 minutes or an hour, whatever time window works for you.
- Volunteer at lunchtime: Pop in during lunchtime and help monitor the kids, make sure they’re eating everything up in their lunch boxes, and as a bonus spend a little extra time with your kids. Ask the front office what is available (there maybe some requirements for this).
- Offer to help set up a site for all volunteer communication: For example, Shutterfly has a simple program you can use for all the parents in your class. This makes it easy for the teacher to delegate tasks, and if you don’t have time to stick around at your child’s school you can jump right on the computer and see what needs to be done.
- Volunteer to be a room parent: When I was teaching it was always nice to have a room parent. They would take care of parties, holidays, or any events that were occurring. They handle the communication amongst the parents in the classroom. You can also set up a parent email list so the teacher can send out her weekly updates to everyone, and this makes it easier for them to find a parent’s contact information should they need to send out communication regarding a specific child. This one is a little more time-consuming as well so just keep that in mind
- Help at a school event: Many schools have big events throughout the school year. Pick one and volunteer to help with it. There is back to school night, fall festival, talent show, open house, etc. Whatever it may be help is always needed and it’s a great way for you to give back to the school.
- Donate classroom supplies: Classrooms are always in need of supplies and a lot of times teachers are providing these things with money out of their own pocket. Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher what the class needs. A trip to the dollar store can get you a lot of cheap supplies. This little gesture will go a long way.
- Yard duty: Schools are always looking for people to volunteer for yard duty. Stop by the front office and see what you can do to help. Even if it’s only one day a month, the help is appreciated.
- Help assist the PE teacher: Kids can get a little crazy when it comes to outdoor activities, so having an extra hand to help at PE is always nice. Ask the PE teacher how you can help. Again no task is to small and does not go unnoticed (there may be requirements for this one as well).
I hope this list helps, and at the very least gets your creative juices flowing. Always remember, it doesn’t matter how small the task or gesture may be, to someone it makes all the difference in the world.