Whether it’s driving kids to practices and games, preparing team snacks, organizing events, or providing a listening and supportive ear, parents play an essential role in supporting their children in sport and activity.
In the United Kingdom, the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) has recognized the importance of promoting positive sport parenting. The CPSU has developed a series of online resources to help coaches and sport organizations engage with parents to further enhance the sporting experience of children, parents, and coaches alike.
Dr. Camilla Knight, an associate professor of sports science at Swansea University and a consultant to the CPSU, has developed the following tips for coaches and organizations who are ready to engage in proactive communication with parents:
- Recognize the importance of parents in sport and take time to thank them for their support and involvement.
- Work with parents to ensure they understand your philosophy, expectations, and aims, and help them to know how they can reinforce your messages.
- Take time to talk to parents to learn about the demands they face and understand why they may react in certain ways. If required, adapt your behaviors to reduce the demands parents are facing.
- Help parents to better support their children’s involvement in sport; provide opportunities for parents to learn about what children like and the positive impact they can have on children’s involvement in sport.
- Get parents involved! Encourage parents to be involved in meaningful and helpful ways so that you can all work to optimize young people’s sporting involvement.