When I first signed up to be a room mom I was scrambling to figure out what I was actually responsible for. I spent hours scrolling through Pinterest, reading the school handbook (which wasn’t very helpful by the way), and seeing what room mom duties other schools listed in their guidelines.
If you’re considering signing up as a room parent, you’re probably wondering about all the responsibilities involved as well. Room mom expectations will vary from school to school, but this post will cover the most common duties we see across the board.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience which means I make a small commission from any purchases made through these links (at no additional cost to you)! 🙌
Room Mom Duties Explained
Your room parenting duties may not match exactly with the list laid out in this blog post, but if you’re anything like me, you generally want to know what you’re getting yourself into upfront. This list is meant to give you a solid idea of what room moms are responsible for throughout the school year.
Duty #1: Initial Meeting with the Teacher
Your first responsibility is to meet with your child’s teacher. Use this meeting to get to know him/her and to find out exactly what he/she expects from you as a room mom. Each teacher will be different!
During your meeting, you can find out things like:
- how the teacher would like to communicate with you
- what his/her preferences are for class parties/snack guidelines
- what his/her expectations are for you
- what other things he/she may need your help with besides the usual class parties or projects throughout the year
Our Room Mom Quick Start Guide has a list of the exact questions I use to ask the teacher at our initial meeting. These questions will ensure you get the answers you need upfront. You can get a free copy inside the RMR Resource Library. Enter your name and email below to get the password:
While you’re at your first teacher meeting, you’ll also want to bring a teacher questionnaire to find out all his/her favorites. This will come in suuuper handy when you get down to Room Mom Duty #7 (my favorite part of room parenting!).
Here at Room Mom Rescue, we have a wide selection of free teacher questionnaires including:
- Editable printables,
- PDF printables,
- printables specifically for male teachers,
- and even email templates for those room moms who don’t want to send a printout.
Duty #2: Parent/Teacher Communication Throughout the Year
One of the biggest perks of being a room mom is the exclusive access you get to the teacher. I’m not going to lie… it’s really nice knowing I have the teacher’s personal cell phone number. And, I’m usually the only parent who has it!
With this special access, comes a little responsibility… It’s your job to communicate with the parents of children in the class about a variety of things including:
- Class parties or events
- Upcoming class projects
- Teacher gift opportunities (birthday, Christmas, Teacher Appreciation, etc.)
- Any other specific things the teacher mentioned in your meeting
The first step to great communication is to introduce yourself to parents with a proper room mom introduction letter. This step was the scariest for me as a new room mom. What if no one reads it? What if parents think I’m annoying? [insert silly self-conscious thought here]…
But now, as I’m going on my third year as a room parent, I know how important this step is. If you don’t let parents know that you’re the room mom, they won’t know you exist. And last time I checked, ‘not existing’ was not on this list of room mom duties! 😅
With this in mind, I don’t think it’s best to send your first room mom email asking for help or donations. Stick to a simple intro letter with the questionnaire attached. Parents will be more likely to open your emails in the future, trust me!
Duty #3: Updating Parent Contact Information
My daughter’s school does NOT give room moms updated parent email lists. They give out whatever-email-the-school-has-on-file from when the student first started school (usually Pre-K). If you’re a Pre-K or Kindergarten room mom, you’re probably fine if this is the case at your school. But when your child hits third grade, like mine, many of the parents have gotten new emails or new jobs which means losing the company email they used 4+ years ago.
If you suspect the parent email list you have is super old and crusty, you’ll want to send out this Parent Email Update Form. It allows parents to give you their most up-to-date contact information directly.
The form also includes a section to add other family members (grandparents, etc.) who would like to know about class parties, volunteer opportunities, and teacher appreciation events. You’d be surprised at how many grandparents want these updates!
Once you have an updated parent email list, your room mom duties will be so much easier to accomplish throughout the year. 🙌
Duty #4: Class Party Planning and Organization
Probably the most FUN aspect of room parenting is the class parties. I’m sure you have fond memories of class parties when you were school-aged. I know I do! It’s so exciting to get to be a part of making those great memories.
Class parties will usually consist of:
- Game(s) – single games or several stations with mini-games
- Craft(s) – a single craft done as a class or several stations with mini crafts/games
- A snack – usually loaded with sugar
- Drinks (preferably water, but let’s be real – it’s usually juice)
Whether you are bringing the snacks yourself or having another parent volunteer to bring them (see #6), please be mindful of the school policies on food. Many schools (including ours) are nut-free campuses. Make sure parents know about these policies before purchasing or baking the snack.
You will always want to check in with the teacher a couple of weeks before the class party to let him/her know your plans and to see if they have any ideas for the event.
Duty #5: Class Projects & Special Events
Class projects and events come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, at my daughter’s school, room moms are required to plan and organize 2 projects:
- Fall Fest Pumpkin Decoration Contest — each class decorates a pumpkin within that year’s theme
- Auction Item — each class is required to create an item to be sold in the live auction fundraiser at the spring fair
If you’re not familiar with what school projects fall under room mom duties, be sure to check with the teacher to get more details. Usually, class projects will center around seasonal events. Use the Room Mom Calendar Cheat Sheet to see the most common holidays (now available in an editable version inside the RMR Resource Library!). The calendar will help you keep track of parties and projects throughout the school year.
On top of those projects, room parents are also required to plan the Christmas party including holiday-themed activities and games. We are also asked to volunteer during Teacher Appreciation Week and organize the class gift (more on that in #7).
Duty #6: Volunteer Recruitment
Being the head room mom doesn’t mean you have to plan all those parties and projects on your own. I’ll admit, I try to do it all myself, but I find it so much more enjoyable when I have other parents helping me with a project or a party.
A couple of years ago, my daughter’s first-grade class had chosen 101 Dalmatians as the theme for their pumpkin decorating contest entry. I thought it would be cute to have fuzzy felt spots on all the puppies (mini pumpkins)… And then I started actually cutting them out… After a few hours of cutting and major hand cramps, I reached out to parents for help and got responses from several moms ready and willing to cut out tiny felt circles! 👏 Together we pulled it off, and although we didn’t win that year, our set up was pretty darn cute.
And yes, those are Amazon boxes under the table cloth. 😏
In general, you can ask for volunteers to help with:
- Class party crafts or games (prep —like the tiny felt circles— or in-person help at the party)
- Class party drinks and snacks (will someone puh-lease handle this for me?! Thx 🙏)
- Upcoming class project or event
Duty #7: Collecting Money for Teacher Gifts & Other Projects
One room mom responsibility I’ve gotten the MOST positive feedback for is collecting money for teacher gifts. So many parents love that they can contribute to a (larger) class gift instead of sending a smaller individual gift. Always present this opportunity as optional. No one is required to pitch in, but the ones who do will appreciate the effort you’ve put into coordinating the class effort. 🙌
Whether you are collecting money for his/her birthday gift, Christmas gift, Teacher Appreciation gift, or End of Year teacher gift, you can find templates for each of those occasions in this post. It will also show you the best ways to collect money from parents.
If you prefer to collect a one-off donation fee for your yearly class budget, this post will walk you through:
- what email to send to parents to start a class budget
- when to send the donation request
- how to set up a class budget tracking spreadsheet
Collecting money from parents should never feel icky. And, I’m telling you from experience, parents will appreciate the effort you’re putting into whatever you’re collecting money for.
I’ve never gotten a response saying “You shouldn’t be asking parents for money!”
Well… I have heard it ONCE from an anonymous commenter on the internet, but I don’t think that counts. 😂
What Room Moms are NOT Responsible For
As a room mom, you are only responsible for the events that take place with your child’s class, most often in their classroom. Otherwise, the name “room mom” just wouldn’t make sense.
Room mom duties do not include school-wide events like fundraisers, sporting events, field days, back to school events, festivals, career day events, etc. The PTO may ask you to get involved in them, but they are not required unless it is explicitly stated in the school handbook.
Room parenting is a great opportunity for moms and dads who want to be involved, but don’t want to get pulled into these types of major school-wide activities, which can be overwhelming for some.
I personally enjoy focusing all of my efforts and attention to my daughter’s teacher while serving the kids in the class and their parents throughout the year. I feel like I can handle that.
Big school events with large crowds? Not my scene.
More Resources on Room Mom Duties
Like I said at the beginning of this post, room parent duties will vary from school to school. Always check your school’s handbook for any rules related to room parenting. If the handbook is available online, you can find them quickly by opening the document and pressing Ctrl + F to do an on-page search. In the search box, type in words like ‘room mom’ or ‘room parent’ to locate them in the handbook.
You can also search the school’s website for any room parenting information. Many schools are now posting their room parent duties lists online which is really exciting. Here are a few to check out:
I hope this guide to common room mom duties helped you decide whether or not you want to sign up to be a room parent this year. I obviously think you should DO IT, but I’m a little biased I suppose. Really though, you won’t regret the experience of getting to help out your child’s teacher. Plus, I promise your kiddo will get a kick out of your ‘classroom appearances’ throughout the year.
As always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about room mommin’. I love hearing from you guys!
Resources for Room Moms
- New to Room Parenting? Get access to the Room Mom Resource Library filled with tons of free templates & printables to help you throughout the year!
- Planning a class gift? Learn How to Write a Room Mom Letter to Parents Asking for Money
- Learn how to create a Class Budget and collect Donations for Class Projects
- Check out the Most Repinned Teacher Gifts and my favorite Custom Teacher Stamps
- No Room Mom Program at your school? Learn how to start a room parent program from scratch!
- Looking for a fun classroom event to celebrate dads? Learn how to host a Donuts with Dad event.