How to Volunteer at your Child’s School When You Can’t Be in the Building

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Want to volunteer at your child’s school, but can’t spend time during school hours? KAG Contributor, Melanie, made this list just for you! She asked area teachers how parents who couldn’t come to the classroom during the day could still help at home. From snacks to class directories some of these ideas may surprise you!

Being a parent to school age children can be a balancing act sometimes. You may have the desire to help out at your child’s school, but aren’t sure how to do that if you can’t be there during school hours. Whether it’s work obligations or caring for a preschool age child, we have teacher approved suggestions for how you can lend a hand in your child’s class, without having to take the day off to be there.

A good place to start is always with your child’s teacher. Letting them know your willing to help whenever possible is a great way to show your support. Teaching isn’t just what happens when the children are in class, there’s tons of behind the scenes action going on. Without a little bit of help, teachers can easily spend a good bit of their own time and money on making the classroom a better learning environment for our children. Sometimes it’s best to offer specific ways you can help. We have  compiled a list of ways you can offer to help, even if you are unable to physically be there.


Yes, supply lists went out and the beginning of school and you sent everything on the list. Sometimes, those supplies aren’t enough. Whether it be a bad batch of glue sticks, someone left all the crayola markers uncapped, or the pencils only survived being sharpened once – supplies run out. Ask the teacher if the classroom has a wish list, or if anything is needed. I’m sure, it will be much appreciated.


Sometimes parents in a rush to get out the door forget things like packing an afternoon snack. Ask the teacher if there is a supply of extra snacks for children who don’t have snacks. A three dollar package of snacks could last a whole month, and the child who doesn’t have to go hungry that day, would be happy you thought to help.


I was once told, one of the best gifts I could have given a teacher was planning the holiday party for her. The fact that all she had to do was roll out of bed that day and show up, was a blessing.

Offer to organize the class party and, using, solicit the help of other parents by making a wish list of items for the party. You could even ask for a parent or two to volunteer in the class that day, if you are unable to.

Crafty Tasks

Laminating items makes them long lasting. It also takes a lot of time to cut items out from a sheet of laminate plastic. Offer to do this for your child’s teacher. Tell them to send the items to be cut out, home with your child, and then agree on a date to have them back to the class.

Newsletters/Class Directories

Are you a whiz at designing things? Offer to do the classroom newsletter from information provided. Does your classroom have a directory for the families to contact each other? An awesome mom in my son’s kindergarten class offered to do this. We used it for holiday cards, birthday party invites and we even sent postcards while on vacation. We haven’t had one since, and I miss it every year.

DIY audio books

Local mom, Whitney, suggested making recordings of classroom books, so children can have them to read along to at their stations. This suggestion went over well with the teachers we shared it with.

Get creative

We once made Flat Stanley type of school mascot that all the children could color. They wrote letters to him and then he wrote them back. If you let the teacher know you are willing to be creative with the help you offer, I’m sure there’s a million things they’ve been wanting to do but never had the help to execute them.

Surprise Treats

For most teachers caffeine is always a welcome sight. The teachers we spoke to said, surprise treats are what get them through tough days. Knowing someone was thinking of you, makes a difference for everyone – not just to teachers.

Parent Teacher Organization

Don’t forget to contact your schools parent and teacher organization. Whether or not you are a member, help is always welcome. If your not a member, consider becoming one. It doesn’t mean you have to spend all your spare time at the school. Your involvement can be as much or as little time as you can offer. For some parents it just means sending food for teacher appreciation events, or helping to get the word out about school events. Every little bit helps.

We hope this helps parents who have wanted to lend a hand at school, but didn’t know how to.

What are somethings you’ve done to help your child’s class?

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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