Four Strategies: How to be a Dad Who Pays Attention to School

It’s always the same this time of year …

Work obligations slow down a bit (if you are lucky) and family obligations start picking up.

So consider this question:

WD-dad-reading-to-classHow much time are you spending in your child’s life? Specifically, how involved are you in your child’s academic future?

Seriously, think about it. How often do you take your child to school? How often to you just hang out talking about his teachers and favorite subjects? How much do you know about your child’s school?

So as an end-of-the-year request, I want to challenge you to hike up the amount of time you spend focusing on your children’s education in the coming year.

Here is one great way to do this: Plan a day right now to volunteer at your child’s school as part of the WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) program—or help bring the program to the school if there isn’t one.

Here are four other Action Points for being a great dad who focuses on education, brought to you by Eric Snow, the national director of WATCH D.O.G.S.

1. Spend some time creating something with your child to give to his or her teacher and/or principal before Christmas break. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A homemade card, poem, story, plate of cookies, or drawing would be perfect.

During this time, talk to your kid about school. What subject does your child like best? Least? Who are his or her friends?

2. Make a New Year’s resolution to read to your child and/or help him or her with homework at least four nights a week.

3. Remember that most schools ignore some big components of education: budgeting and family life. Ask your kids to help with the shopping list, and the grocery shopping. This is a great opportunity for real life lessons on planning, organizing, and budgeting.

In the same vein, make sure your kids get to help with meal preparation. Even if you are going to a relative’s house, you can bake and frost some cookies together to take with you.

4. Don’t forget to make GIVING a major emphasis for your family. You could:

• Go to the mall or Wal-Mart with your child and find an “Angel Tree,” which provides details (name and gift suggestion) of a child whose parent is incarcerated. Include your child in every step of the process: Ask your son or daughter to help you pick out a present for this child, have your child pay for the gift and drop it off with the Angel Tree representatives.

• Take your child with you when you ask your church if there is a family that you could help in some way during the holidays. Include them in on whatever assistance you provide. Depending on how old your child is, you might even put him or her in charge of coordination.

• Ask a younger child to drop money in the Salvation Army kettle.

• Finally, create a plan to be involved in your child’s academic life year-round.

Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

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There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.