Parents are often the support system (the bases, if you will) of their cheerleaders. Everyone knows that cheerleading can be expensive (though we have some ideas on how to extend your budget) and that cheer parents are responsible for mostif not allcosts, from cheer wear to traveling costs to gym fees. What else does it take to have a child in cheer? We've put together a brief list of what exemplifies a great cheer parent.

A cheer parent needs to be patient. There will be practices that run over, weekend long competitions, loud carpools of cheerleaders, and other situations that will demand a cheer parent to keep their cool. Sometimes it will even seem as though it's taking a long time for your child to advance, nail a stunt, or be noticed. If a cheer parent is patient, this helps encourage their child to be, as well. Lead by example and maintain your composure even when it's difficult.

A cheer parent knows to let the coach do the coachingat least, when it comes to cheering itself. A cheer parent should coach their children when it comes to prioritizing tasks such as cheer, homework, school, and any other social activities, or coach them through handling difficult relationships with other members of the squad. It may be tempting to offer advice or guidance to the team, especially if a parent has coaching or cheerleading experience themselves, but the most helpful place the parent can be a coach is at home. Always remember that the cheer coach is specifically trained to take charge of the squad itself and has the team's best interests at heart.

A cheer parent puts in long hours. From driving to and from practices, competitions, and games, to assisting with fundraising efforts, a cheer parent knows their time will be needed. Some squads may even ask parents for assistance with chaperoning games or competitions, helping athletes with makeup and hair, or crafting homemade hair bows. The amount of time a parent will need to dedicate will vary depending on the squad and coach, but the best cheer parents are able to organize their time to handle work, the carpool, the current fundraiser, any other children's activities, and everything else that comes in a day.

A cheer parent knows to remain positive. The "stage mom" persona is alive and well in the cheer world and a great cheer parent does not get involved with gossiping or drama. It's important to never speak badly about another parent, squad member, or coach; staying away from any gossip will encourage your child to do so, as well. You may disagree with certain things that happen on the squad, such as how short a uniform skirt is, how much glitter should be worn during competition, the choice of flyers, the performance music, etc. It's important to remember that anyone could be listening to your conversation (no matter how private) and mention anything you say to others, including the coach. Stay positive, feel free to ask the coach questions if you're unsure of anything, and keep negative opinions or gossip to yourself.

A cheer parent is a cheerleader themselves. Each and every parent knows, you are (and should be) your child's number one fan. It's also important to support the entire squad, by assisting in fundraisers to cheering them on at games and competitions. Often times it is up to the parent to keep their cheerleader's attitude positive and upbeat, through good days and bad. A cheer parent makes sure to maintain an open and honest line of dialogue with their cheerleader. Let them know they can come to you with any problems, and approach difficult situations together as a team.

What does being a cheer parent mean to you?