At The Gravely Group, we try to tackle questions that come from across the United States with a systematic approach that can assist all of our clients. However, there is one question that keeps bombarding us wherever we go…”How do we engage our younger parents in participating with our program?” So we decided to give just a few suggestions that every program can refer to when this topic comes up in your program.
A new Pew internet study takes a look at the texting habits of cell phone owners. The findings show that of the 83% of American adults who own cell phones, roughly 73% of them send text messages and about 31% of them prefer texting to actually talking on the phone.
Surprising? Not really. But here’s the craziest data point: Cell phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an incredible 109.5 text messages per day, or 3,200 per month. This is the average age of our younger parents in our programs. They are called the Generation Y (Gen Y) or Millennials.
The study found that Gen Yers are spending an average of 12 hours daily engaged with some type of interactive media. It is estimated that only 5% of Generation Y adults do not own a mobile phone, and even fewer do not own a computer. Roughly 1/3 of Generation Y adults use the internet as their primary source of news updates.
Once you have your Gen Y parent, how do you make sure they’re engaged?
Make sure your Early/Head Start program has an active Facebook page that posts ALL activities of your organization. Ask your parents to become your Facebook friend to receive all information about school closings, parent days and parent-teacher conferences. Post those great moments in the classrooms to Facebook! Parents love to see their child doing great in school. (Remember to get those parent release for pictures!)
Be creative when constructing effective communication for events, the Internet (instant messaging), blogs, sponsorships, and texting will be some of your most interactive options. Notes inside of book bags are no longer the best opportunity.
Ask parents how they can help. Most Gen Y understand the need to volunteer even if they have very little time. Be imaginative in ways that parents can volunteer but still fit it into their busy schedule.
We hope this information is helpful. Our goal at The Gravely Group is to give you the best communications to assist your program needs.