Our kids’ summer is almost over and we need to start preparing them for a return to school. Singledad.com is the #1 resource for parenting advice for single fathers and single parent families.
Despite the recently scorching temperatures for most of the nation, it’s hard to believe that our kids’ summer is almost over and we need to start preparing them for a return to school. With so many different types of families today, that can mean many different things. But no matter what the circumstances, there are ways that you can be an involved (dare we say, ProActive) Dad for your kids going back to school. According to former Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, "…if America’s Dads got as involved as America’s Moms in their children’s education, America’s children would be studying harder and getting a lot more A’s…Dads make a powerful difference in defining expectations and challenging children to do their best."
But we must give a brief mention to the elephant in the room. Dads are not the traditionally involved parent when it comes to dealing with teachers, tutors, and homework. This is your chance to shine. This is yet another opportunity to remind the world that Fatherhood is worthy of respect and you are doing your job to raise a bright, mature, and caring child.
1) Go to PTA meetings and parent conferences
If you aren’t involved with your school’s PTA (sometimes called PTSA – Parent Teacher Student Association), sign up. It’s a great way to meet other parents who care about their kids, find out more about your child’s friends, have positive interactions with the teachers and administrators who work with your child every day, and -for you single Dads- meet some wonderful Moms! You care about your kids, she cares about her kids – split a sitter and have a nice night!
2) Help with homework
It’s kind of like changing a diaper. You’re not expected to know everything (no parent does), but you better man up to this one and show that you’re not afraid. Your child needs help with something and even if you don’t know the answer, it can be beneficial to see that you are willing to learn with them. Your male bravado will still be intact and you created a bonding moment with your kid. Perhaps best of all, your child won’t be afraid to come to you next time. This increases their chances for doing better in school, having high self esteem, and respecting Dad. Not a bad trade off for helping them figure out how to spell
3) Work with the teachers
Dealing with problems after they happen isn’t always necessary. In some cases, problems can be avoided altogether. With the school year beginning, take time to meet your child’s teacher(s) and learn about their methodology, particular subjects covered in the upcoming year, etc. Each day your child spends in a bad classroom is wasted. You can not get it back. Make sure you are comfortable with the teacher, the curriculum, and the methods of education and discipline. Raise concerns if you have them. You’re the Dad. You’re the boss.
4) Volunteer in the classroom
This is perhaps the largest abyss of Dad involvement. Its not often that Dads are seen in the classroom or volunteering on field trips. In fact, most requests from the school specifically and only mention Moms. Well, you are part of the team that will break that mold. When teachers are looking for volunteers, put your name on the list. Having a male presence is rare and will probably be greatly appreciated. It will also give your child a sense of pride to see their parent being involved.
5) Healthy choices
What kind of food does the cafeteria serve? What vaccinations are required for enrollment? How often is the campus patrolled? These and others are what you should be asking. Its no wonder that America’s kids are becoming larger and larger (often following the lead of their parents). Our schools have contracts with companies like Pizza Hut and Pepsi to provide nutritious and balanced meals. Sure, grease, fat, bread, sugar, and artificial colors are balanced. Make sure your kids are eating healthy. When it comes to vaccinations, each State has their own laws. In some cases, each school district. Know your rights! You can also refer to our article on swine flu to learn some things the media may not have shared.
Research has proven that involved fathers reduce the risk of their children repeating a grade, being suspended or expelled, and having GPAs below a 3.0. And these benefits are enjoyed whether the Dad is married, single, custodial, or non-custodial. Show Mom, your kids, and their teachers that you are a great Dad worthy of respect. Show them that an excellent education for your child is your priority and you’re willing to make it happen.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”