Parents as Partners

As you and your child join the 4-H program, you’ll want to make the most of the experience. The success of your 4-H club and the kind of experience your child has depends greatly upon your parental involvement. 4-H has so much to offer your child through educational programs, contests and special events. Through active participation in 4-H, your child will develop skills that will last a lifetime.

Parent Involvement is Key

By supporting your child in 4-H, you ensure the best growth experience possible for your child. Research shows when parents are involved, children are more likely to progress academically, to enjoy the experience, to participate in extracurricular activities and to be less likely to be a discipline problem. Participation in the 4-H program can help the parent contribute to their community and to the development of their own child and other children.

Benefits for Your Child

When you participate in 4-H, the 4-H members benefit from your support and encouragement. When you know about 4-H and the events available to your child, you can help your child participate. Informed parents can help their children attend club meetings and workshops, keep records, participate in community service and prepare for leadership roles in the club program.

Benefits for Your Family

Not only does your child benefit from your involvement in 4-H, families benefit by sharing learning experiences and developing common interests. Through 4-H, family members support each other, creating a sense of togetherness. Families are linked to other 4-H members and parents, providing a connection with the community.

Ways to Help Your Child at Home

With many parents working these days, it might be hard to imagine having the time to help your child. Parents can play an important role at home in supporting their child’s 4-H experience.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Help your children by being their guide, teacher, counselor and helping hand as they work on their projects.
  • Read the 4-H newsletter or email.
  • Use day-to-day activities as occasions for learning.
  • Ask questions.
  • Read your children’s 4-H material.
  • Help your children plan and carry out their project-related activities.
  • Help your children identify ways they can serve the community.
  • Help your children choose learning experiences appropriate to their abilities.
  • Provide opportunities for your children to try new skills, to rehearse possible actions, to remember and think about new information in a safe setting.
  • Help your children think about and say out loud what they have learned.
  • Share your wisdom, understanding and life experiences with them.
  • Work together side by side but encourage your children to do it.
  • Be willing to host an event or meeting at your house.
  • Step back, watch, provide support, let your children do it alone if possible.
  • Provide abundant encouragement.
  • Recognize all accomplishments.

Ways You Can Support Your Local or Parish 4-H Program

Active parents make an exciting 4-H club experience for the members. But remember, this club belongs to the children! Your local and parish 4-H club is made up of children, parents and families from across your community. You need to help support the work of these other families as they work to support yours.

Here are just a few ways you can help:

  • Attend meetings with your children as frequently as you can.
  • Attend club and parish-wide events.
  • Provide transportation when needed.
  • Attend training workshops when offered.
  • Visit with the club’s leaders.
  • Ask questions for information and understanding.
  • Support your children in developing leadership roles.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Ask how you can help support.
  • Lend your support and skills to the club.
  • Share good ideas for programs.
  • Be a good example for the members.
  • Offer encouragement to the club leaders.
  • Let the 4-H members make the decisions.
  • Share your skills and knowledge by volunteering to be a project leader.
  • Offer to assist the club leaders with some task.
  • Care about a 4-H member other than your own child.

4-H Parent’s Pledge

I pledge my HEAD to give my child the information I can, to help him/her see things clearly and to make wise decisions.

I pledge my HEART to encourage and support my child no matter whether he/she has successes or disappointments.

I pledge my HANDS to help my child’s club; if I cannot be a leader, I can help in many equally important ways.

I pledge my HEALTH to keep my child strong and well for a better world through 4-H, for my child’s club, our community, our country and our world.

Developed by: Janet Fox, LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Development

Reviewed by: Tina Guillory, Charles Hebert, Jane Honeycutt, Debbie Hurlbert, Holly Jeter, Kim Jones, Kori Myers and Kem Villejoin


Deidrick, Jim. October 1996. Parents and Kids Learning Together in 4-H. University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Lafontaine, Kenneth. Involving Parents. 4-H013-99. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Fact Sheet. Retrieved at: //

Parents -- Partners on the 4-H Team. MSU Cares: Mississippi State University Extension Service. Publication 610.

4-H Parent Handbook: A Guide to Who, What, When and Where of 4-H.  Manhattan, KS:  Kansas State University Extension Service.

9/30/2005 7:46:48 PM
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