As a father, active participation in my daughter’s school functions can be a challenge. I try to be involved with school-related activities as much as I can. Studies have shown that when fathers are actively involved in school, the child will do better socially, and academically. Quality time with your child begins at home and should then expand to the school.
It all begins at home! Support of your child’s learning and school can be blended into home life. One thing that all children need is having a parent read to them and with them at home. A child that learns to read well prior to the 3rd grade is shown to have a better chance of succeeding throughout their academic training. A great bonding activity for fathers and children is to go to the library a few times a month! Share your interests with your child and have them do the same. Check out books. Go home and read with your children. Keep books and printed magazines available at home, too.
Daily routines at home such as where and when homework is to be completed, consistency in chores around the house, limited time online or watching TV, and an early bedtime allowing for ample sleep, are just a few responsibilities that fathers can assist with as parents.
Fathers who take time in the evening to ask their child about school and listen to the response from their child at least once a week develop better family relationships.
Fathers possess skills that can help with their developing and maintaining positive relationships at school. Taking the time to attend parent-teacher conferences and having a focused list of questions to ask the teacher is a great communication tool for fathers. While at these meetings it is important to take note of the classroom and mention positive things that can be seen. These could range from a nicely decorated bulletin board to the arrangement of desks or the display of student work. By complementing the teacher, fathers gain trust and respect with the teacher. Attendance at class and school events is a must. This might not seem like a big thing to you, but I remember when my daughter was in Head Start. It would put a big smile on her face to see me in her classroom!
Volunteering at the school is another great way to become involved at your child’s school. Most schools actively look for volunteers to come in and help in a variety of ways. With school budgets getting cut all the time any help you can lend to the school will be well appreciated by the school and your child.
Joining the PTA is another great way to contribute to your child’s school. Parent organizations can be crucial as the active voice for your child. Suggestions for school improvement by parents is known to be an effective tool agent for change within a school. I did this a few times in my daughter’s schools. First I served as the Vice President for the Head Start Policy Council and later I assisted the PTA in a fundraiser to build a new playground at my daughter’s elementary school.
Many fathers use their love of sports to strengthen the bond with their child and the school by offering to either coach or assist the coaches. Is there a sport that you loved while in school? Why not pass on what you learned to others? Coaching allows you to be the teacher and share your knowledge. Research has proven that children who participate in sports have higher self-esteem and greater chances for high school graduation.
Fathers playing an active role in school can help more than you think. Simply getting involved as a positive role model will increase your child’s chances of success and create a lasting bond with your family. In our fast paced society making or taking the time to spend with your child seems to be a struggle we all face. It takes commitment to take that time. Your child is only young once. The impression you leave and the quality of time you spend with them is crucial to their success. I will leave you with this video that inspired me to write this today. It is a small clip on a school in Shreveport, LA that is committed to getting fathers involved.
Please feel free to share others that you have found to be useful so that others will have additional ideas of how to get involved both at home and in the school community.
Additional references: http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/calltocommit/chap2.html