Even though your kids might be embarrassed by your very presence when they reach high school, there are still plenty of opportunities and reasons to volunteer at their school.Many parents choose to be volunteers for years, here and there, or somewhere in between. Most want to build a sense of community and be involved in what’s going on. Others simply like to volunteer and be a part of what their children are doing. It can also help set a really good example.
Whatever the reason is, it’s a great cause that the school will definitely appreciate any help they can get. If you’re looking to volunteer, take a look at some of the tips we have below to help you succeed and thrive in your new position.
Be Clear About Your Commitment Availability
No one likes someone that’s wishy-washy and unsure of their plans, so you need to be upfront about what you can and cannot commit to when volunteering. It’s a bad idea to come in and say “Well, I’m not sure, I’ll get back to you.”
That means the school is unlikely to call or ask you for help if they’re not sure when you can. Or it could mean just the opposite, when they’re calling you for just about every event.
Be upfront with your time and commitment possibilities and it will make things easier for everyone involved.
Let Them Know About Any Skills
Sometimes, schools need specific volunteers. For example, some schools have children and parents come in who are unable to speak English effectively. If you have a second-language skill (which would most likely be Spanish), then you can use it.
You might have been involved in event planning or organization before. You could help find transportation for school field trips or even act as a chaperone. Maybe you used to be a teacher and can come in to help children having difficulties learning.
While you don’t have to brag about it all, it helps to know that a volunteer may be able to provide some sort of specific skill or area of help. Statistics show that those most likely to volunteer are between the ages of 35-54, meaning you probably have plenty of skills to offer.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will you be able to ascend to the top of the committee in a day. Find something to start small in before working your way up.
This ties back into the area of previous commitments. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew when volunteering. Feel free to let others take the reins on certain projects or be willing to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all and volunteering is always a team game.
Ask for Feedback
Remember, you are volunteering at a school and not running the show. That means you should be asking for feedback and asking plenty of questions to make sure you’re staying in your lane and not stepping on any toes.
Be sure to ask the teachers or coordinators that everything is going to plan and nothing is being interrupted. Make sure your communication is open and stress that you are looking for honest feedback. Plus, don’t take criticism too harshly.
Do it for the Kids
It might be tempting to offer you child a bit of special treatment when you’re there. After all, they’ll probably be pretty happy and proud to see you at school (up until a certain age that is). Even though it may seem impossible, try to treat all the kids equally and not give your kid an extra cookie when no one else is looking.
For those moments where your child seems a bit put off by you volunteering, don’t be afraid to do more of the work out of the spotlight. Instead of leading the committee for the fall dance, you could help bring in snacks or coordinate who is going to be bringing in what.
Your child’s attitude to you volunteering could change year by year, so be prepared to be flexible or talk to them and see how they feel. Open communication will not only help with your fellow volunteers but it will also work with your little ones.