40 Mom-Tested Tips for Balancing Work and Family


How to Stay Involved In Your Child's School or Day Care


Volunteer at Night
Not only am I a working mom, but I am a fourth grade teacher too, so I see this issue from both sides. I stay involved in my son's preschool by signing up for parties and bringing treats. Field trips are a good way to get involved too. There is generally more than a week's notice for any school trip so that a working mom can arrange her schedule to help out the teacher. There are also opportunities to volunteer outside of working hours. Call your child's teacher and ask if there are any calls she needs made to other parents or any parties she needs help planning. Primary grade teachers often need help with cutting patterns or tracing things, which can easily be done at night if the teacher sends it home with your child. The PTO/PTA in your school will have lots of committees to volunteer for that meet in the evenings. Just be proactive and make the call to your child's teacher. As a teacher, I love to hear from parents who want to help. The feeling of support and community is great!

--iVillager Amy

Do Something You're Good At
Here's a good rule for school involvement: Volunteer to do one or two things very well rather than a bunch of things not so well, and make it something that you enjoy doing. Also, pick something that you can do in the time you have. If you work locally, volunteer to be a lunch or playground monitor. Or channel some of your work talents into volunteerism. This has two benefits: It allows the school to get some free professional-level consulting, and it gives you some experience as a private consultant, which may prove useful someday if the layoff fairy visits. I've focused my school involvement this year on helping to build our school's Website into a better communication tool for parents, students and teachers. --iVillager

Stay in Touch with the Teacher
I generally cannot be at my child's school during the day, but I've found other ways to stay involved. For example, my children's teachers will at times send me homework to do, which can be anything from cutting a million triangles to recording a book on audiotape. I also send in supplies, snacks and donate whenever I can for projects. I also take time off from work to go on field trips, and always attend any plays, parties or other special events going on in the classroom. There are so many ways to get involved. Parents must simply ask the teacher, "How can I help?" Now that email is so prevalent, communication is much easier. Use it! Teachers are responsible for too much today. They need you.

--iVillager Dori

Stay Apprised of Your Child's Development
My daughter's babysitter keeps me up to date on meals, naps, playdates and other activities by writing it down in a daily journal. We also talk twice a day -- once in the morning and once in the afternoon so that she can share any stories with me. --iVillager Jenny

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