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Helping your child succeed | Fathers' involvement in their children’s education is vital for academic success

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HAGÅTÑA — There is overwhelming evidence from over 30 years of research that students whose parents are actively involved in their learning perform better academically. Furthermore, they have better attendance rates, more positive attitudes toward school and fewer discipline problems, higher graduation rates and greater enrollment in college, and become more responsible adults.

For many years, parental involvement has often meant mothers' involvement but research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National PTA shows that fathers’ involvement plays a critical role in their children's education as well. Fathers model positive male behavior by demonstrating appropriate conduct, help promote the development of positive values and conformity to rules, and encourage children's confidence in their ability to solve problems. Even fathers who do not share the same home with their children have a positive impact on their children’s education when they are actively involved.

Frequently, fathers cite time factors as the major barrier to being more involved in their children’s education. However, there are simple things fathers can do that do not require a lot of time. Below are some recommendations for fathers’ involvement at home and at school:

  • Establish daily routines. Fathers can set a time for their children to complete homework, chores, and other activities. They can help their children with homework assignments or projects by providing support and information. They can show their children how to plan T.V. time wisely by limiting the viewing time to less than two hours per day, and they can have at least one meal together with their family every day.
  • Read with your children. Years of research show that the best way for children to become better readers is for fathers to serve as model readers - by reading to the children and by reading themselves. If the father can’t read the text, he can stimulate his children’s imagination by telling stories using a picture book, or he can ask other significant adults to read to younger children and himself together. He can also ask older children to read to him. In addition, he can take frequent trips to the library with the children to check out books.
  • Make the most of bedtime. Bedtime is a terrific opportunity for fathers to connect with their children. By bedtime, most of the household tasks have been completed and there are few distractions. At bedtime, a father’s full attention can be given to his children. He can read to them or just talk with them about their day. Discussing the children’s day shows them that their father is interested in them and their lives. This simple activity not only builds a bond between parent and child, but it increases the children’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and develops better problem-solving skills.
  • Volunteer at school. Fathers are welcome at schools as tutors, leaders of afternoon or evening clubs, chaperones for field trips, social activities or athletic events, or as classroom speakers who share information about their work or, the world of work and how education contributed to their expertise on the job. They are also frequently needed to pitch in to help meet school needs such as installing new playground equipment, or painting and repairing school property.

Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed, MA, is a teacher with 31 years of professional experience. You can write to her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your questions or comments.

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