Tips for Parents

  1. Choosing a topic is sometimes the hardest part of an NHD project:
    1. help your child brainstorm ideas
    2. have discussions with your child about their choice 
    3. ask them how the topic relates to this year's NHD theme (Judges are looking for clear connections)
  2. If your child is working with a  group:
    1. be sure he/she can commit to the necessary time needed to work on a group project
    2. Open your house up for some work sessions
    3. provide transportation when needed
    4. designate a place where materials for the project can be collected
  3. Support your child's own creation of his/her project by only helping with the tasks which are unsafe for him/her to do (use of heavy equipment e.g.electric saw)
  4. Encourage your child to "pull their own weight" and contribute significantly to their group project.
  5. Ask your child how they are incorporating primary resources, interviews, research, and the Internet. (Wikipedia is NOT considered a reliable resource by NHD because anyone can edit entries)
  6. Reinforce the short and long term goals your child's teacher sets for accomplishing the project.
  7. Establish open communication with your child's teacher/coach and the other parents involved with the project.
  8. Encourage your child to review, revise, edit and redo the NHD project until they are satisfied with the end product.  When complete, encourage practice, practice, practice for delivery.  For further tips on what questions judges ask, go to or the judges' section of this website.
  9. Be very familiar with all rules for the category your child has selected.  
    1. Have your child explain the rules to you
    2. Check written materials that your child prepares including:
      1. annotated bibliography for consistency
      2. compliance to the formatting rules in the rule book
    3. Encourage the use of "practical props" (performance and exhibit categories only) that your child and his/her group can easily move, assemble, and disassemble.  Lightweight, collapsible framing materials work best.
    4. Have a discussion about plagiarism.  Plagiarism is defined as the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, and publication of another author's language, writing, thoughts, ideas, or creations without acknowledgment of that author.  Plagiarism occurs when you claim someone else's work for your own.  
  10. The NHD experience give students tremendous opportunities to improve their communication, presentation, research, creativity, technology, project development, and teamwork skills.  these are important life skills.  Competition and winning are less important than these life skills.

    (Thank you to California NHD for the inspiration of these tips.)