It's not easy being a parentespecially a cheer parent! You have to balance a busy cheerleading schedule and still have time for your own hobbies and interests. We are always amazed at how dedicated and passionate cheer parents can be. They are the best support system a cheerleader could have. While you're probably already an amazing cheer parent, make sure you're doing these four things. They'll help you maintain your Best Cheer Parent Ever award.

  1. Communicate. Often. Perhaps the most important thing you can do as a parent is talk with your cheerleader. By this, we mean dig deep. Talk with your cheerleader about her successes and falls in cheer. What are her fears? What does she love most? What does she love least? It's important to understand your child's passion for cheerleading. Every day after practice, ask how it went but really mean it. All too often we get caught up in the day and ask, "How was it?" without really listening to the answer. After every practice, game, competition, and event, talk with your cheerleader about the ups and downs.

  2. Foster independence. Being part of a team, like cheerleading, will help your cheerleader later in life. She'll learn how to work with others, how to solve conflict, and how to stand up for herself. While you may want to be her #1 protector, don't always step in to fight her battles. If she's not getting along with a teammate, see if she can solve the problem on her own. This doesn't mean you should abandon her if she's having a problem; it just means you should choose when to help and when to let her take the wheel.

  3. Be your cheerleader's #1 fan. Your cheerleader is likely to perform better and push harder when she knows her loved ones are watching. Kids look up to their parents and your cheerleader will want to impress you with her skill and talent. Don't just congratulate her on successes; attend as many games, events, and competitions as you can and cheer her on. Volunteer to help the coach at events that require traveling or additional hands. Not only does this give you more opportunity to spend time with your child, it also allows you to see just how hard she trains.

  4. Grow with your cheerleader. During those young years up through high school, your cheerleader will change a lot. Her personality, her tastes, her interests, and her cheer skills will grow. In order to be a great parent, your rules and expectations should grow, too. Raise your expectations every time she exceeds them; alter rules based on her current schedule and successes. This is a great way to push her to always do better and to treat her more and more like an independent adult.

What do you think is the most important thing a cheer parent can do for her cheerleader?