If you are the parent of a high school student involved in an extracurricular activity (or several) you probably already know why those activities are important. Whether it’s a sports team or cheerleading, drama club or chess club, these extra activities are teaching your child about time management and commitment, improving her social skills, raising her self esteem, and broadening herworld. And on top of all of that, these activities look great on a college application. That’s a lot to ask from one (or a few) after-school activities, but the research on the subject says that they deliver. Because these activities can serve such an important function for your child, it’s really important for you as their parent to support their efforts. Of course, it goes without saying that you want to and will support your child, but the team or club needs your support too. Want to get involved but not sure how? Here are some ways you may be able to help.
- Volunteer. It is almost a given that no matter what the organization, they’re going to need some help from time to time. If you have the time to spend, volunteer that time and whatever talents you happen to have. If you sew and your teen is in the drama club, you may be able to help make costumes. If you’re a great cook, volunteer to provide refreshments for meetings and events. Some children may need rides to meets or events; if you’re free to do so, volunteer yourself as a driver. There is nearly always something that you can do to help or to make things run a bit more smoothly. Consider the time, talents, and resources that you have available and choose what fits best.
- Fundraise. What organization doesn’t need money? Obviously, you can support your children’s clubs or teams by donating to them yourself if you can afford it, and that’s wonderful. But getting other people to donate can be even more helpful. Do you have contacts among the local business people in your community? Ask if one of them would be willing to sponsor your child’s organization. Suggest fundraising ideas that are out of the ordinary, like holding a multi-family garage sale, with the proceeds going to your child’s organization. Offer to host or work at fundraising events whenever possible. Be an enthusiastic supporter.
The most important thing you can do is be there. Show up at key events, practices, or meetings. Cheer on your child, but remember to cheer on the team as well. Bring friends and family to show their support, both for your child and the rest of the group. Remember that learning to function within a group is an important skill that your child is learning, and your function is to support the whole group, as well as your own child, as much as you can. The benefits are worth it.