Kids appreciate their mums and dads being involved

Research findings have revealed very significant benefits obtained by both children and their parents if parents become involved with their children in their education. Since sport is education, no doubt about that, it follows that parents and children who are involved with each other in kids’ sport can look forward to obtaining these significant benefits. Whilst AFL Auskick has a weighty parent representation, if these significant benefits were more widely promoted, the representation of parents at AFL Auskick, and other levels of Footy, would be even stronger. What are the benefits? Read on below.

Parents and Education: The Impact of Parents A Summary of Research Findings
Parent involvement is critical in facilitating children's improved achievement levels and development rates and in preventing and remedying educational and developmental problems.

Benefits to Children
Substantial evidence exists to show that children whose parents are involved in their education have significantly increased achievement and development levels.

Benefits of Involvement to Parents

  • Contact with people is made, whose understanding of child development and educational processes may be more experienced.
  • Parents become better teachers of the children at home and use more effective and positive forms of reinforcement.
  • Research indicates that involved parents develop more positive attitudes about themselves, have increase levels of self confidence, and often enroll in programs which further enhance their personal development.
  • They often become involved in other community activities.


Effective Approaches to Parent Involvement

  • Visits to the clinic
  • Parent meetings 
  • Parent-coach (trained coach) conferences
  • Written and verbal information from the coaches on the program and the progress of their children.


What Parents Enjoy Most

  • Participating in the activities
  • Parent meetings
  • Policy planning meetings
  • Meetings dealing with educational concerns and personal growth and development (themselves and their children).

The least popular are social and fundraising activities.


Problems in Involving Parents

  • Coaches are sometimes reluctant as they feel threatened
  • Coaches also concerned about being responsible for a more personalised concern for each individual child and how to balance this with their concern for the group, if parents become involved
  • Planning parent involvement activities takes up time
  • Concern over ability and commitment of parents.


Characteristics of Successful Parent Involvement

  • Parents often have other skills they can share (e.g. diet, health, medical, dance, psychology, various experiences, etc)
  • Parent child relationships are personal and long term whereas coach child relationships can be impersonal and short term
  • The goals and purposes of the program match those of parents and parenting
  • Program responds to parent needs with flexible and creative activities
  • Expectations, roles and responsibilities are communicated 
  • Parents are involved in decision making
  • Problems are expected but policies and procedures for resolving them exist and are communicated to parents.

“Parenting may be the only role for which no preparation is thought necessary.”

“Games and play form the most important avenue for children to discover and learn attitude.”

AFL Auskick helps in both these cases.

This article first appeared in Coaching Update, published by the Australian Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Victorian Branch.  Ray Allsopp, Football Victoria Resource Officer and Editor of Coaching Update

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