We all want to be as involved as we can in our kid’s lives. Even if you know nothing about chess, you do all you can to make sure your child can succeed in this mental game. You take them to chess classes, see if there’s a club around, and buy a chess set for Christmas.
You also want to be involved in their academic lives. Helping them with homework and making sure they’re getting prepared for tests. Some parents like to feel like they’re helping out and choose to volunteer at the school.
Volunteering is fantastic, because it allows you to meet other parents, help out, and could be a great use for your skills.
Below, we have six tips that can help you become the best volunteer you can possibly be!
Be Upfront About Your Time
The worst thing volunteers can possibly do is commit to something only to back out at the last minute. Yes, emergencies happen but schools are often struggling to fill the volunteer gaps and are counting on you to be there.
When you sign up, you need to make sure you’re being 100% upfront about your time. Tell them the days you can make it and what days you can’t. When you commit to a day, mark it on your calendar and don’t plan anything else around it.
No one is going to be disappointed in you if you say from the onset “I can’t do anything for these weeks in October because I’m training my pet sharks”. But people will be disappointed in you if you say the day before, “Oh yeah, I can’t come. I’m training my pet sharks.”
For those that have watched Modern Family, you might remember the episode where Claire and Gloria get into a small fight about who is the head volunteer for the school dance. They bicker over table arrangements, food, and delegating tasks.
While you might have dreams of being the volunteer leader, it’s OK to start out small. Sign up for a few events throughout the year but don’t feel like you have to commit to everything.
Although it should go without saying, it doesn’t need to be a competition either. You’re here to volunteer your time and services for others.
Use Your Other Skills
The majority of volunteers are between the ages of 35 and 54. That means these people likely have plenty of life experience to pour into volunteering. You could have a green thumb and help with the school garden or be a great speaker and show up on career day.
Maybe you’re a naturally great chef and there’s no one who can bust out sweets like you can. Whatever you feel you can bring to the table, let others know and be ready to help in that area. But at the same time…
Even though you may walk into the volunteering world with an idea of how it’s going to go, be ready to be flexible. Even though you may have a book of recipes so big it can reach to the moon and back, instead you might be asked to find a place that can give you hundreds of tumblers with the school logo on it for the alumni dinner.
Don’t come into the volunteering world with your idea set in stone, but be ready to be flexible and give where you are most needed. But who knows? Your skills may be called upon in the future if you’re patient enough.
Speak With Your Child Before
We’re not saying you need explicit permission from your child to be a volunteer, but you might want to speak with them about your role in volunteering. If they’re in elementary school, they might be incredibly happy and proud to see you walking the halls. If they’re in high school, you might be lucky to get a casual wave out of them.
Be sure you ask them ahead of time how they’d like you to be. They might prefer you’re more of a behind-the-scenes. Make sure you do whatever makes them comfortable. You are stepping into their world, so be respectful of what they ask.