What Moms Really Think About Back-to-School
Dropping them off each morning is only the beginning. Parents and Land's End asked moms what they really think about getting involved at their children's schools (hint: if you're stressed out, you're not alone).
What's On Your Mind
48% of moms say they're extremely concerned about managing their family's schedules once school starts.
86% are worried about the quality and healthfulness of their children's school lunches.
94% say protecting their children from bullying is a major back-to-school concern.
Half of the moms we surveyed say their family is overscheduled during the school year, and 47% find it difficult to fit in quality time with the whole family once school starts.
72% are worried about how much peer pressure their child receives.
Four out of five of moms see back-to-school as a chance for a fresh start, not just for their kids but for themselves as well.
Your Kid's Homework
Almost half of moms (48.3%) find the amount of homework their child receives concerning, but only 33% of moms say their child spends more than an hour on homework each night.
69% of moms are concerned about their children's academic performance.
Social Media and Your Kid's School
84% of moms said they were likely to use social networking sites to engage with other parents about their concerns or preparations for back-to-school, and 69% are likely to use social media to communicate with their children's teachers.
93% of moms surveyed are likely to use social media to look for back-to-school sales and deals.
Teachers and Technology
43% of moms think it's okay for teachers to communicate directly with their children through text messaging, social media, or email, as long as the messages only relate to school and aren't personal.
18% of moms think it's a great way to get children more engaged in learning, but 39% don't approve of the idea.
Volunteering in School
Almost a quarter of moms (24%) don't volunteer at all for their children's activities.
33% of moms put in less than an hour a week volunteering for school activities, and 28% volunteer 1-2 hours a week. Only 16% of moms spend more than 2 hours a week helping out at school.
Fewer moms volunteer for their children's out-of-school activities, but they spend more time doing it. 29% don't volunteer at all, but more moms spend over an hour a week -- 30% put in 1-2 hours, and 23% say they help out more than 2 hours a week with extracurricular activities.
Your Feelings About Volunteering
44% of moms feel judged by other parents by the amount of time they devote to school volunteering, fundraising and carpooling.
58% of moms find participating in school fundraisers stressful, while only 38% are stressed about volunteering for after-school activities.
More than half (58%) of moms worry about staying on budget for back-to-school shopping.
37% of moms feel there are too many school fundraisers their children are required to participate in, but only 5% say they volunteer for their children's classroom activities too much.
Kathryn Gamble Lozier
Why You Volunteer
41% of moms surveyed say they volunteer because they see it as part of being a good parent. 26% do it because they enjoy it, and 15% help out because their children want them to. Only 5% think that if they don't volunteer, teachers or other parents would think less of them.
What You Contribute
The largest number of moms said their children participate in 3-4 fundraisers each year. 30% of moms say their kids have 1-2 annual fundraisers, while only 18% say their children take part in more than 4 a year. 14% of moms surveyed say their children don't participate in any fundraisers at all.
Of those mothers who contribute to school fundraisers, moms most commonly report donating between $50 and $99. 20% of moms donate between $25 and $49 and 15% between $100 and $149. Only 8% of moms donate more than $200 to school fundraisers over the course of the school year.
73% of moms plan to set a budget for back-to-school shopping this year. Two-thirds of moms plan to spend less than $200 on back-to-school clothes, but 33% expect they'll go over their budget.
82% of moms say back-to-school season is their biggest shopping time of the year.
Virtually all moms (98%) take price into consideration when shopping, but almost 2/3 (64%) say their kids' preferences are important as well.
More than half of moms worry about staying on budget for back-to-school shopping.
Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Parents magazine.