Are you, or have you been, “the room mom?”
I was the room mom for C’s class when he was in kinder and 1st grade. After that, until this year, I was a room mom helper. But this year, I guess I was the only one in E’s class who said I was willing to do it so…ta da!!! I’m the room mom. In 3rd grade, it really isn’t that much though. The main tasks are setting up the Christmas and Valentine parties. And guess what is coming up FAST? The Christmas party!!!
If you have never been the room mom before, or just need a refresher, I have a few suggestions for you.
1st: Send your info out early! Don’t wait until the week of the party or field trip to contact the parents. Most people have very full schedules and they need advance warning to be able to get off work, get a sitter for younger siblings, etc. I sent out an email to all the parents in our class back in September. In this email, I introduced myself and gave parents the dates for the parties (yes, the dates were already available as the whole school has their parties the same day and time.) I told parents the dates and times and that I would follow up closer to the events with info.
2nd: talk with your teacher. Ask her/him what he/she wants or needs you to do. Discuss the menu for the party. Our class parties are only allotted 30 minutes. This time includes the kids opening their stockings and eating so there isn’t much time left for crafts and activities. You need to know things like this BEFORE you begin planning. Also, find out if there are any restrictions the school has for parties (our school doesn’t allow red icing or red drinks) and if there are any food allergies in the class (one of the students in our class has a nut allergy). This is stuff you have to know so that you can pass the info along to parents.
3rd: PLAN your party! Don’t try and wing this. You are dealing with about 2 dozen kids hyped up for Christmas, no school, and loaded with sugar. You have to know what you are doing. This includes the menu. If you just send out a blanket request for help, you are going to end up with 6 dozen cupcakes, 8 dozen cookies, some candy, and no drinks or plates. Tell people what you need and let them help you.
4th: compose your letter/email to parents. Tell them why you are contacting them, the date and time of the party, and EXACTLY what you need. They need to know how many kids are in the class. Tell parents about any restrictions or special needs, i.e. food allergies, etc. Provide a list of what is needed for the party and what specific areas you will need help for the party. This is the letter I sent to parents:
Mrs. ___’ class Christmas party will be on Wednesday, December 18th from 2:30 to 3:00. Parents are invited to attend. All parties at the Intermediate school will be at the same time, so if you have more than one child on campus, you may need to split your time between classes. Parents will be able to take their children with them when the party is over.
We need volunteers to bring food, drinks and paper goods for the party. The intermediate campus does NOT allow red icing or red drinks to be served at the parties. Juice boxes with clear juice or water bottles are the preferred drinks. There are 24 kids in the class.
Items needed for the party are:
plates and napkins
cheese cubes or sticks
large ziplocs for kids to pack up any food items they are taking home
If you would like to send something to contribute to the party and/or if you can help set up/clean up, please let me know as soon as possible.
Also, don’t forget that each child is asked to bring stocking stuffers. Mrs. _____ makes a stocking for each child. Instead of a gift exchange, each student brings something to put in the stockings. Items could include: pencils, erasers, small treat bags filled with candy, gum, colored pencils, etc.
Thank you for your help and participation. I look forward to hearing from you.
I also included my email and cell phone number for parents to contact me.
5th: I HIGHLY recommend e-mail for getting this info out. Most often letters are written, copies made, and then sent home via kids to parents. The problem with this is the info often gets lost in the shuffle. I sent my email to parents this morning. By the end of the school day, I had heard back from most of my parents. I had someone signed up to bring every item on the list. And I had people ready to come and help with set up.
6th: Have a plan B! Our class party is only 30 minutes. The kids are going to eat and open their stockings. There really shouldn’t be time for any thing else. But what if there is?! What if the kids are hyped up on sugar and totally crazy and we need something to keep them busy? I plan to have a few “minute to win it” type games ready to go to fill in any time needed. If we need/have time for the games, then I will have them ready to go. If not, then no big deal. There is a TON of stuff you can find on Pinterest for class parties. I started a “room mom” board. You can check it out here (room mom board)
if you need some ideas. If your party is longer than 30 minutes, and you are including crafts, activities, and/or games. You need to plan out everything you need, how you are going to move the kids from one activity/group to the next, how many helpers you will need, etc. There is no such thing as too much planning when you are dealing with kids!
7th: plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the party to set up and plan to stay and clean up. Many parents will be willing to help you with this. You must get there early!! The teacher is counting on you being ready to go at the assigned start time. Don’t leave him/her hanging by being late. (And if you have younger kids, find a sitter. There is no way you can efficiently manage the party and your littles). And plan on cleaning up. Don’t leave your teacher with the mess, not if you want her to continue to like you and your child. 🙂
8th: One last thing, send your helpers a reminder the day before the event. And, be sure to thank them for their help/contribution. You’ve got another party to plan in the spring and you’ll need their help again. 🙂