Research tells us that children benefit when their fathers are actively involved in their academic lives. This includes helping out with homework, reading together, and volunteering at school. However, if you look at any school’s volunteering log sheet and you will find that it is mostly the moms who are going into classrooms, attending field trips, and meeting with teachers. It is vital that schools actively recruit and engage dads so that they are involved as well.
Here are 5 ways to get dads more involved at school.
1. Doughnuts with Dad
Many schools have a monthly Coffee With The Principal meeting. These meetings can be run as a structured informational session or a loose meet and greet. More often than not, it is moms who attend these events. Creating a special event just for dads might do the trick. Doughnuts with Dads might not pass the strict healthy food requirements that many school have these days, but it will get dads into the school. Keep these meetings informal. Coffee, doughnuts, and dads is a great combination.
2. Lunchtime Sports Programs
Most schools do not have formalized lunchtime sport programs. While schedules might not allow for this on a daily basis, a group of dads could get a program running once per week. Dads could rotate the time to be at the school and organize and run lunchtime soccer, football, and basketball programs. The kids would love playing with their dads. Plus, it keeps children occupied and out of trouble at recess. For dads who can’t make it during the week, school fields can be reserved for weekend games.
3. Host a Career Day
Some moms and dads have work schedules that do not make it easy for them to volunteer at the school regularly. Hosting a career day is a fun way to involve these parents as most companies encourage their employees to be a part of these events. Children would love hearing about the careers of moms and dads in the class. Plus, career days can help guide their course selection and career-planning efforts.
4. Create a Dads Only Volunteer Day
Pick one day out of the year and make it dedicated to dads volunteering at the school. On this day, mom gets the day off. Put dads in charge of everything that day. Yes, you can expect some chaos and “deer in headlights” looks, but that is part of the fun. These events are special for all children and dads, but especially in the younger grades. This event could be built out more by including other important male figures such as grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and family friends.
5. Start a Maker Space
Many times, dads can be drawn to certain activities. Building stuff fits that category for some dads who shy away from being the guest reader or art project lead. They might not be into, or, let’s be honest, capable of leading the activity on creating a paper mache pig for Charlotte’s Web, but they might like building circuits or an electronic greeting card.
Guest Post by Dr. David Franklin