Educators: Work out ways to help working parents volunteer

With so many parents working outside the home these days, it can be difficult to get them involved in their children’s education. Be sure to:

  • Consider parents’ work skills. Parents who work in office settings are likely to have computer skills. Ask them to volunteer for jobs that can be done via email at any time, like organizing events. Some parents might even have website design skills that they’d be willing to “donate.”
  • Offer jobs that parents can do at home—on their own time. A parent doesn’t need to come into the classroom to stuff envelops or cut up shapes for a bulletin board; that can be done at home. Most parents would be glad to give up an hour of time after school to help their children.
  • Allow parents to “share” volunteer jobs. If most of your volunteer opportunities are repeated weekly or monthly, allow parents to sign up for the same job on a rotating schedule. It may be easier for a parent to take off one morning every two months than one every month—just be sure to make a schedule so there is no confusion about “whose” day it is to volunteer.

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