Tips for Families: Making Time for Leadership

Share this tip sheet with parents to encourage them to take the time to use their advocacy and leadership skills. Explore suggested activities parents can do based on the amount of time they have available.

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Leadership can happen in your home, your Head Start or Early Head Start program, and your community. Parent leaders and advocates can influence state or national issues. You can join with others or even consider being a mentor if you have more leadership experience. Small steps can lead to bigger steps. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

If you have time, you can:

Five minutes

  • Reflect on what is important to you and what changes you want to see
  • Stop and talk with your child’s teacher. Share what you appreciate about him or her. Ask what you can do to contribute to the classroom
  • Ask your child’s teacher about arranging a meeting with your child’s future kindergarten teacher to prepare for that transition
  • Share online petitions on issues that are important to you with your social networks

15 minutes

  • Talk to other parents to find out what questions, concerns, or suggestions they have about your Head Start or Early Head Start program. Ask program staff about opportunities to express these thoughts and ideas
  • Ask about the community issues that other parents are concerned about when you see them at the park, the grocery store, a birthday party, or other events. Brainstorm together about solutions and action steps
  • Find out who your legislators are. Follow them on social media to learn about their priorities for children and families
  • Contact your local representatives or senators to tell them what you think about issues that are important to you

One hour

  • Volunteer in your child’s classroom or attend an event at your Head Start or Early Head Start program
  • Meet with your child’s current preschool teacher and new kindergarten teacher together to share information about your child
  • Join a Head Start Parent Committee or attend a Policy Council meeting to share thoughts and ideas about the program with program staff and community members
  • Write a letter or email to the editor of your local newspaper, or post on social media, and express your concern about a community topic that needs more attention and action

One day

  • Volunteer when your program organizes a family or community event. Make suggestions or offer to lead an activity.
  • Get together with other interested families to talk about how to start children in a new classroom or school program
  • Participate in your Head Start or Early Head Start program’s efforts to influence state policy by sharing your story
  • Start a petition to address a community issue and talk to neighbors and friends to gather signatures and plan future action

Topic:Family Engagement


Resource Type: Publication

National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement

Last Updated: April 17, 2019