Is it hard for you to believe another school year is about to start? That first day back at school is a benchmark occasion for your child — no matter what his age. And dad, it’s also a call to action for you.
The beginning of the school year is a great time to communicate through your actions that your child’s education is important and that you’re going to be there to support him this year. And even if your child isn’t in school, you can still be involved in helping him grow intellectually.
For the sixth year, the Black Star Project is calling on fathers to walk or take their children to school on their first day this fall. The project is hoping for participation from 800,000 around the country. As they state, “A father who actively participates in the educational and social development life of a child is invaluable and irreplaceable.” Learn more about the Million Father March.
Research confirms that children do better in many different facets of education when their fathers are highly involved. That involvement includes taking children to school, eating lunch with them at school, volunteering to help in their classroom and with other school activities, as well as making education a priority at home, whether it’s homework or other activities that will help the children grow into well-rounded adults.
Of course, the best thing for your child would be your continued commitment well past that first day and being actively involved throughout the school year—at home and at school. At your child’s school, there are great benefits when dads like you are present and involved. For example:
- Being there communicates that you love your child and that his education is important.
- You become more aware of your child’s world.
- You help create a positive atmosphere at the school, and assist teachers and administrators in their challenging roles.
- You’re a role model for other kids at the school who may not have a positive male influence.
- You set a great example for other dads, so they might step up and be more involved too.
- You could make a significant difference for the children and families in your community.
- It’s a blast to give high-fives, participate with your kids and other kids in their day, and learn about what happens at school.
Perhaps the best way for you to enjoy all of these benefits (and more) is to serve as a WatchDOG in your child’s school—or to start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program there. Nearly all the dads who serve as WATCH D.O.G.S. say they are eager to do it again. Find out more about this incredibly fun and effective program. (See the Action Points below for some ways you can help your child at home.)
- Drawing from current events or things you want to teach your children, ask thought-provoking questions at the dinner table.
- Set up a regular routine of reading together with your child—no matter what his age. As a starting point, George Williams, author of Quenching the Father-Thirst and one of our longtime trainers, suggests reading together five minutes a day, five days a week.
- Come up with a destination for a father-child “field trip” that your child would enjoy and make plans to do that together soon.
- Teach your child a new skill that would be useful around the house or that he will need in the future: changing a tire, changing a light bulb, vacuuming, setting the table, mowing the lawn, folding clothes, etc. Make it something age-appropriate and participate with him as you’re teaching.
- Discuss with your children’s mother what each child’s learning style is and what adjustments can be made to capitalize on that at home.