Let’s be honest. Parents are some of the busiest people on Earth. And when you add a leadership role in the PTA, it can be tough to juggle responsibilities at home and at school. So how do you strike the right balance?
After working with thousands of PTA leaders, and helping them run over 10,000 successful fundraisers during the past 16 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about serving in a parent organization. Here are five simple secrets to creating a healthy balance between being a parent and a PTA leader.
1. Schedule and Save
Leading the PTA requires a ton of planning and time-consuming work. One way to overcome this is by scheduling time for PTA-related work (just like you would for any other job).
It has worked for PTA President Brenda Wood who said, “Because I’m not worried about finding the time to get the work done, I’m far less likely to feel overwhelmed.”
You can avoid overload too by setting aside several hours one weekday for PTA meetings, projects or just getting organized. Knowing this time is blocked out on your calendar will allow you to be fully present in other areas of your life.
2. Next, Flex
Whether it’s a last-minute PTA project or a DIY project at home, we all know things don’t always go as planned. Having flex time built into your schedule can help you catch up.
Find some open time in the week and protect it like you would an important meeting. That way you can use your scheduled flex time to catch up before heading into a busy
3. Be Realistic and Communicate Expectations
When working with others on a PTA project or event, you should first consider your schedule and how much “PTA time” you have available. Here’s a tip: Be realistic. Don’t try to do it all. Instead, delegate tasks and then communicate openly and clearly to ensure everyone understands the expectations on timing.
Most people are working to establish the same type of balance in their lives, so others will understand if you have to say no.
When communicating with parents, PTA Leader Shari Sneary says it’s best to be concise. “Be selective about the information you send home,” said Sneary. “If parents want the minutes from your previous meeting, they’ll find a way to get them. But most of the time, key bullet points will suffice.”
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for H-E-L-P
As a PTA leader, one of the most important parts of your job is building relationships with other parents. Many parents genuinely want to help out. Get to know the volunteers who sign up to help at events, and let them know how much you value them.
Make note of parents who sign up regularly to volunteer, and ask if you can contact them directly with other volunteer needs. Building relationships you can lean on is crucial in maintaining more balance in your life.
“Your role as a PTA leader is to guide, encourage and facilitate—NOT TO DO IT ALL!” said Cathy Ellis, a former PTA president. “Learn about the talents and skills of those around you and build a team of volunteers with a little of everything. Putting others’ talents to use helps the team, builds support from a larger group, and makes those individuals shine.”
5. Focus on Family
As parent leaders, you spend a lot of time at various PTA events throughout the year, and many of them occur outside of school hours. Getting your kids involved gives them a sense of pride and allows you to spend time working together as a family to help your school.
Who knows? Your kids might love making posters for book fairs, greeting new students at the open house, or helping with carnival set-up.
A Final Thought
Remember, no one gets the whole “being a parent” thing perfectly right. Give yourself grace as you seek to strike the right balance between parenting your kids and volunteering at your school. But remember, it’s because of committed parents like you that schools thrive. And to that we say this: Thank you.
Boosterthon.com is an elementary school fundraiser on a mission to change the world by helping schools raise more and stress less. With over 2,400 schools and 1.6 million students across America participating in our programs, we’re reinventing the way schools do fundraising.