5 Ways to Engage Dads and Moms

While continuing on my own learning journey and working on a chapter on goal setting, I was reminded of one of my goals that I have ignored.  BLOGGING!  I remembered that I really enjoyed sharing my experiences and knowledge with others and I need to continue.

I was asked by an organization to put a short write up together for their newsletter for service providers and facilitators ask me all of the time, how do i engage parents?  I tell them relax, you can only provide the water, they choose to drink or not.  So I have come up with 5 ways to engage for the newsletter, and I am sharing my thoughts with you here :

1. Your workshop needs to be inviting and safe.

  •   Look at your physical space, is it comfortable? Throw away the rows and tables and sit in circles.
  •   Always have food.  People feel comfortable when they can share eating together.  DADS particularly enjoy chatting while       eating
  •   Never ask people to introduce themselves for the first time to a large group.  Have them talk in small groups first.  This         helps to create safety.
  •   The program should be the same time and day of week.  This provides consistency and predictability.


2. Your workshop needs to be participant driven and interactive.

  •   Involve people doing something with their hands and getting up from their chairs.
  •   Focus on the children.  That is why they are there, don’t make it a personal about them.  ‘healthy children, have healthy         parents’
  •   DADS love to make and do things.  Keep your workshop interactive that way.  It’s easier to talk when you don’t have to         look at someone.
  •   Remember to use a variety of learning style techniques in all that you do – include fun!


3. Your workshops need to be enticing and inspiring. 

  •   Make the topics relevant (participant centred)
  •   Ask them what they want to know. This allows them to discuss critical issues that affect their own lives.
  •   Think about:  Why are people there? What can you do to help them want to come back?
  •   The workshop topics should always reflect their needs, not yours.


4. Your workshops need to be flexible.

  •   Recreational activities are a great way to start. Most dads say this is why they attend group activities. Recreational                   activities provide the opportunity for exercise and decrease anger/stress in a positive manner.
  •   Offer programs in the evenings or on the weekends so more parents can attend.


5.   Your workshops will be engaging if you do 1 – 4. 

  •   People are motivated and engaged when they feel comfortable and will participate in their own way.
  •   Remember… you cannot control what people do, think or learn.  You can only offer experiences and guide them by leading   discussions and having resources/supports available to them.  They are in charge of their journey, so you don’t have to be!