In a moment of weakness, I agreed to be a room parent for my first grader. While the class parties and teacher gifts promise to be time-consuming, my biggest problem is that I don’t know which child belongs to which parent. And I, of all people, SHOULD know, since my son has been in school with some of these classmates since preschool! How do I ask for someone’s name again – after all these years?
Who’s Your Daddy?
Dear Who’s Your Daddy?:
First, good luck with that room parent gig. Wow. I will be thinking of you when Valentine’s Day rolls around and you are in the throes of wrangling a bunch of over-sugared 6 year-olds. That being said, I also feel your pain when it comes to trying to remember not only the name of all those kids, but their parents as well. I am a big believer in asking for someone’s name. And if you forget, ask again. And if you forget again, apologize and ask again. But, not everyone is as comfortable as me in admitting chronic memory loss. So, here are a few tips:
Heading to Back to School Night? Contact the teacher ahead of time and ask if she would invite parents to introduce themselves in a group setting (hint, hint, teachers!): Hi, I am Jane Richards. My daughter is Lexi; she has blonde hair and glasses. Really focus on each and every name and face. If you stay present in the moment and use some tried and true memorization tricks, you are much more likely to succeed at absorbing the information.
What if Back to School Night has come and gone? Check with the school or your child’s teacher regarding a class directory with the names, phone numbers and/or email addresses of students and parents. You will need this information when attempting to scrounge up volunteers for various parties, but because most emails and texts now come through with a photo, this will also help you match faces with names.
As a room parent, create a private Facebook group for you and the other parents in the class. This would be a great way to connect with others on upcoming events, but also gives you access to photos of both the children and parents – and even siblings.
Go old-school and whip out the nametags at the next class event. Use yourself as an example: Something like, Debra Fine – Jared’s Mother, will do the trick.
Ask and You Shall Receive:
Ask your child’s classmate for some help: Hi, Beth. I am Mr. Greene, Katie’s dad. I cannot remember your mother’s name. Can you remind me? Remember that this only works with elementary and older kids. Littler tykes are likely to answer: My mommy’s name is mommy – and then you are stuck.
In the meantime, buckle up. The Halloween Party/Costume Parade/Pumpkin Carving Contest/Apple Bobbing Germfest is right around the corner – and you are going to need all the help you can get.