Enrolling a child in school for the first time will give any mommy all the feels – good and bad. When I enrolled my oldest in pre-k4, I was excited, nervous, sad, and concerned all at the same time. Putting my son in a brand new environment, without me and without any of his friends, was scary. What quelled some of my fears and put my mind at ease was Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly, Facebook.
The school we chose for my sons is a pre-k4 through 12th-grade program, and one thing the school encourages is for the parents to join the Facebook Group for their son’s particular class administered by a parent representative (a room mom). I currently belong to the Class of 2031 group (1st grade) for my oldest son, and let me tell you, it has been incredibly advantageous, in more ways than one.
Over the last 3 years, this group has been a safe space for us parents to meet each other, ask questions, share pictures, coordinate play-dates, announce birthday parties, and more. It’s especially been incredibly effective in answering questions about the school or class (i.e., “When is the homework due?” “What time is the parent meeting?” “Does anyone have the field trip permission slip?”). This approach has created a forum that not only allows the parents to meet and communicate with each other, but it actually takes a load off of the teacher as well by answering these questions for each other. Instead of the teacher receiving handfuls of emails and questions from parents about logistics and homework, we can help each other out, making the teacher’s experience with the class much more stress-free – a benefit on both sides. This group has proven to be a trusted go-to source for me, and now I don’t have to be THAT mom flooding the teacher’s inbox.
Aside from the reliance factor, belonging to the Facebook group has fostered a camaraderie amongst both the parents and the children. With access to everyone with just the click of a button, we’re able to set up play-dates even when school is not in session. “Anyone up for the zoo on Wednesday?” I don’t have every parent’s contact info stored on my phone, so Facebook allows me to invite everyone to a play-date. My son is going to be friends with these classmates for quite a while, organizing and/or attending playdates is important in order to encourage these relationships and promote inclusive play. Facebook has enriched that opportunity squashing any concerns I might’ve had about who my son plays with during the day.
My sons’ friendships are not the only ones flourishing from this group, however.
As with anything via social media, I have gotten to know these parents very well. Thanks to Facebook, there was no intimidation factor when meeting a new group of parents—we’re all on the same level playing field in this group. In the beginning, every single one of us was simply a parent of a boy in the Class of 2031. However, through the frequent announcements, reminders, play-date invites, picture sharing, and general comments, I have found common bonds and connections with some of these parents that I might not have from simply sitting in a parent meeting together. Facebook is a more casual platform allowing us to feel more inclined to speak our mind or discuss fun social topics. This system has created a reliable and trustworthy place to initiate what has now become some of the most valuable friendships I have today.
And, let’s not forget about the Mommy Nights Out or the Dad Hangouts!
The Facebook group has played an integral part in coordinating some much-needed adult time as well. Our boys will be together at least until the year 2031, why not build up our parent rapport over drinks and Saints football?! Through this group, we’ve planned Mommy Nights, Couples Date Nights, Mardi Gras parade watching, tailgates, and more! After the countless socials, I have no doubt that my son is surrounded by good company now that some of my closest gal pals have stemmed from this Facebook group.
All the Mommy emotions one feels when starting a new school are legitimate, but I strongly urge everyone to either join or create a common ground forum, a safe space, a Facebook group, for the parents your child could one day be calling “a second home” so that those nerve-wracking feelings can vanish at the click of a button.