banner I have been a Lego League coach since 2007. This year, I wanted to document the season to give rookie coaches a resource to help them through to competition. The process can be intense, but it can also be a lot of fun for you and your team.

I hope to cover enough through my posts, but if I leave anything out, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me.

Parent Involvement

Author: fllCoach | Files under About Lego League
  • Parents want to help, but don’t think they understand robotics enough
  • Parents can help by building robot
  • Give little tasks to parents along the season to reduce your stress
  • Parents can help prepare for competition
  • Don’t demand help, but don’t be afraid to ask

In my first year as coach, I read that coaches should get parents involved. I got parents to come to my meetings, but they just sat in a corner as I did my thing. In their defense, I didn’t really know what they should do, so I couldn’t give them any direction.

It wasn’t until the following year when parents participated actively that I saw how helpful they could be. They were very hands-on in the building of the robot parts and accessories the robot needed. They also took on a lot of the planning for snacks for the competitions.

Last year, one of the dads attended almost every meeting and helped out where ever he could. He even became my robot for my Programming a Parent meeting (post coming soon). I appreciated his help so much that when I gave the kids trophies at the end of the season, I gave him one for being an honorary coach. We became pretty good friends and he’s my co-coach this year.

You’ll find that many parents are willing to help, but they don’t know how. Many don’t feel they can do much because they don’t know programming, but there are plenty of other things for them to help out with. The easiest is in helping to build parts of the robots or accessories as mentioned above. Have them work with their child on their task. Most parents these days love spending time with their kids and it’s great bonding time.

One of my parents from last year wanted to help, but had to work a lot, so he bought pizzas for everyone at the competition. Another parent helped with the script of our skit for the presentation. Even the parents that weren’t so helpful in my first year took it upon themselves to create the t-shirts our team wore at the competition. If you consider everything you have to do before the competition, you’ll find little tasks that can be handed off that will reduce your stress level.

Be cognizant that parents are sometimes as busy as the kids, or busy because of the kids, so don’t make any demands. But also don’t be afraid to ask.

2 responses. Wanna say something?

  1. John Spradlin
    Sep 16, 2010 at 10:57:25

    The parents built parts of the robot? I thought the whole thing was supposed to be built and programmed solely by the kids.

  2. fllCoach
    Sep 16, 2010 at 23:42:06

    No, the parents help to build the robot parts. You are right that the point is that the kids build and program the robot. But they think very simply at the early ages and usually need suggestions to stabilize their designs. The parents can help find pieces or make suggestions on how to improve the design. They, of course, shouldn’t do the design. Let the kids figure out what to build. The parents are there to back them up.

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