Team parents are a pivotal part in parent-coach relationships. We all know that parents have lot of questions and want to stay informed, which can be hard for a coach when your main focus is to, you know, coach your team. Having a good team of parents can make or break relationships between coaches and cheerleaders, too! However, adjusting to a new team of parents can be difficult. Here are three easy ways cheer coaches can adjust to new team parents.

1. Have clear expectations for team help. You want to provide team parents with clear expectations of what an assistant position requires; you do not want someone to get in over their head who cannot commit the time and effort into helping you out with cheer activities on the calendar. As the coach, you need to provide a list of expectations and provide as much information as possible at parent meetings, including any upcoming deadlines for competitions or fundraising information. You also need to provide expectations of how much freedom your team parents have: do you need a team parent to run ideas by you before making decisions? Or, do you allow them the freedom to make those decisions on their own? Clear expectations make parents more comfortable transitioning into their new roles, and also makes adjusting from one set of parents to another simple and easy.

2. Do not compare. If you had the most amazing team of parents last year, you cannot expect new team parents will just pick up where the last team parents left off. First off, being a team parent is not a paid gig (just like most coaching positions aren't), so cut your team parents some slack and know that you're in this together! Second, anyone new to something needs a bit of guidance and direction, so let them get settled and see what your new team parents can do for you. You might be surprised on some new ideas that they might come up with! Seeing new ideas through to fruition can sometimes bring about great results! If you constantly critique or compare your new team parents, they may start to resent you, which can lead to team parents not following through for you, or even removing their child from the squad!

3. Be friendly. 
Take some time to get to know your team parents. At any job, if you like the people you work with, it makes the job more enjoyable. Of course you do not need to be best friends with any of them, but having friendly relationships does help. Have a coffee date once a month with team moms, or meet up for happy hour to just touch base and see where they are at. If there are any team or parent concerns that arise during this time, tell them that you can discuss it further later and thank them for bringing it to your attention. Just take the time to get to know each other. Team parents do a lot for the team, and you want to express that, show that you care, and value the work they do.

Team parents are the unofficial members of any team sport. They are in charge of parent relations, keeping your squad information together, party-planning, and fundraising. They do a lot, and adjusting to new team parents can be difficult. However, having clear expectations of what the team parents do, not comparing them to previous team parents, and maintaining friendly relationships can make the transition between new team parents and a coach go smoothly.

How else can cheer coaches adjust to new team parents? Share your tips in the comments!