Fall is here, and kids have headed back to school. While in many respects a kid’s school obligations remain the same as they always have been, they’re very different in some ways. Often, both parents work. This means that dads must take on a larger role than ever in their kids’ school lives. If you’re a dad who’s dealing with your kids’ new fall school schedule for the first time, here are some things to remember.
Get More Involved
There is no way to learn more about what your kids are thinking than to get deeply involved in their school work. If possible, go to the parent-teacher conferences. Attend their games. Find out about their friends. Volunteering is also a great way to get involved and to meet other parents and the teachers. If you do this, you and your kids will experience fewer surprises due to a miscommunication about schoolwork and schedules.
Take Them to and From School
During the school year, you won’t have much one-on-one time with your kids. Driving them to school at least once in a while gives you uninterrupted time to connect with them. It also gives you some additional opportunities to meet the school’s support staff when you drop your kids off. Being able to put a name with a face can be helpful if you need assistance from these people later.
Help Them With Their Homework
Helping your kids with their homework can be a challenge. If you offer too much help, they won’t learn how to solve problems or manage their time. On the other hand, you’ll only know what your child is learning or failing to learn by getting into the trenches with them. You’ll find the balance if you let your child lead the way. If they can do their homework without your help, just check in to find out what’s being absorbed. If not, step in and lend a hand.
Teach Them Safety
Part of what kids learn at school is how to be independent. They’re responsible for managing their own schedule and getting to class on time. Earning passing grades is their first job. They also have to navigate tricky relationships, including dealing with bullying. The best way you can prepare your child for these eventualities is to lead by example. Talk about the challenges you’ve had with relationships and how you handled them. Teach them how to manage their time and assess risks. One way you do this is by being mindful of how you take up space in the world. For example, don’t forget to be careful yourself when driving through school zones. Your child sees how you behave in each of these instances and learns how to better navigate them too.
Dads play an important role in their kids’ lives. They can be a guide and a confidant during the best and worst times. Dads who help their kids during the formative years usually have closer, more fulfilling relationships with them as adults.