Well, school is back (or soon to be back) in session! Summer vacations are winding down and schedules seem to flood back in action like a bursting dam (at least mine does). It is with precautions like this that we fathers need to be especially mindful of our importance in getting involved with our child’s schooling. Whether we are married or doing life as a single parent, study after study has found that fathers play a significant role in their child’s long-term academic success. Depending on the age of your son or daughter and the level to which you can commit to doing school work with them, here are a few quick tips on how to maximize your influence and still get some “Daddy time” in too:
- Be intentional on setting time apart for school
Know your child’s school schedule and atmosphere. Regularly check the school’s online calendar, get to know his or her teachers and stay in communication with them, and most of all: intentionally set time aside to do homework with your kids. This not only helps with school success, but shows your child that they are your primary focus- which is a tremendous act of love on your part.
- Make time work for you
Speaking from experience as a single father for over 9 years, I know how quickly weekday time can fly by. Plan ahead with dinner and get the important things done first (like homework, projects, etc) before you do play time. I know it may seem like a drag, but our job is to prepare our children to become responsible adults and this is one component of that. Of course, don’t become legalistic over it either. Look for new and creative ways to create opportunities for quality bonding time with them along the way.
- Let your son or daughter know they are loved and affirmed
Yes, we are to lead our children towards success in school and life; but as Paul so beautifully points out in 1Corinthians 13, if we do it without love- we completely miss the point. Always be sure to let your kids know that you love them, even when they fail; and affirm them when you see they are trying their best. This will mean far more to your son or daughter (and last infinitely longer) than any “A” on a test ever could!
Have a wonderful and blessed school year, Dad. And remember, we’re always learning on how to do this fathering thing too!
Matt Haviland is the Founder and President of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.