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Attention Dads: You’re Needed at School

The Benefits of a Father's Involvement - Tips for Volunteering

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Updated November 17, 2008

Attention Dads: You’re Needed at School

Fathers can make a positive impact in their child’s educational experience.

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Ask any parent around and most will agree that being involved in your child’s school is important and can make a difference in your child’s academic and social success. Too often, however, the involvement ends up being one-sided – with moms tending to know more about what is going on at school. Luckily, this pattern is beginning to change. Both stay-at-home dads and career dads are getting involved; as a result, there is also an increased awareness about the powerful, positive impact dads can make. Whether your home is a two-parent home or you live apart from your child, your interest, enthusiasm and involvement with your child’s education is important.

Benefits

Research shows that children of involved fathers are more likely to enjoy school, have better grades and more positive peer relationships, have fewer behavior problems, and become more responsible adults. When you are involved with your child’s education, you send your child an essential message - school is important.

It is not only the kids who benefit from their dad’s involvement. Research also finds that men who are involved fathers feel more self confident and effective as parents, find parenting more satisfying, and feel more intrinsically important to their children.

Obviously, the time you need to be at work can place limitations on how you can get involved at school, but with creative planning you can be a dad involved and interested in your child’s educational life. By doing this you also get to know who your child’s peers and friends are, making it less likely that your child will get picked on or bullied. You get to know your child’s teacher, making communication of issues much more likely and more frequent. All great benefits!

10 Simple Ways to Get Involved

Below is a list of simple ways for dads to volunteer and get involved at school:

  1. Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  2. Volunteer to drive or chaperone during field trips.
  3. Coordinate a time with the teacher to read to the class or be involved with class projects or unit studies.
  4. Together with your child, prepare snacks for special class celebrations. If you aren’t one for the kitchen, you can sign up to bring drinks or paper products. Plan an outing with your child to purchase the items.
  5. Set up or clean up after a class party.
  6. Come in and have lunch with your child once a month or however often you can swing it.
  7. Drive your child to school or pick him/her up after school.
  8. Join a PTA committee.
  9. If you're handy with the computer, volunteer to set up a class website.
  10. Don’t forget that being involved with your child’s education includes providing support at home – help your child set up a good homework area that is free of distractions, review homework, help your child prep for an upcoming test, call out spelling words, read and respond to paperwork that the teacher sends home, etc.

Sources:
Fatherhood Institute. Research Summary: Fathers’ Influence Over Children’s Education. Fathers Direct. February 2007.

Sarah Allen, MSc and Kerry Daly, PhD. The Effects of Father Involvement: A Summary of the Research Evidence. Newsletter of the Father Involvement Initiative - Ontario Network, Volume 1, Fall 2002.

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