The Team Parents

It’s always a good idea to hold an initial meeting of team members and their parents. Most likely, the parents will support their child’s involvement in the program and will want to help. It is very important, however, that you let them know their limitations. Make clear the rules for outside assistance. Stress that their children will reap the full benefits of creative problem solving if they create their solution themselves.

Parents need to understand what will be expected of them regarding money, time, transportation, and so on. Find out what days and times are convenient from a family perspective and develop a practice schedule accordingly.

Make sure you inform the parents of the competition dates well ahead of time so they don’t schedule activities that conflict with those dates. Block the day after competition as well for celebration party whichever way the competition goes for the Team.

Getting to know the parents is a way to learn about the resources, skills and facilities that they have to offer. Parents may be willing to teach skills that team members need to execute their solution — carpentry, sewing, dancing, etc. Parents can also supply general information on subjects such as engineering and scientific principles, and they are a good resource to serve as judges, scorekeepers, or tournament assistants.

You might want to have parents solve a hands-on spontaneous problem during the meeting to “break the ice” with each other and to demonstrate what their kids will be doing.

Some coaches set-up specific jobs for parents such as transportation coordination, bringing snacks for meetings, finances, T-shirt and pin orders, setting up spontaneous, etc.

Discuss time constraints and what they’re willing to contribute, set a schedule of team meetings that you’ll stick to as best as you can until the competition date approaches.

You might want to meet one day during the week and on Saturday mornings for a couple of hours. As competition season draws near, you’ll probably want to increase the frequency of your practice sessions. Try not to have your meetings conflict with any of the team members’ curricular activities.

If you can meet as a team only once a week, make this a planning session where all team members give input into the solution, then assign different tasks to specific team members that they can work on at home. Make sure each team member has equal responsibilities. For example, one could write one scene of a skit and another team member could write another. One could make a costume, another could build a prop, and still another could create music.

Next Topic: How do Teams Compete?