Attention Dads: You’re Needed at Your Head Start Program!
Ask any Head Start parent around and most will agree that being involved in their child’s Head Start Program is important and can make a difference in their child’s academic and social success. Research shows that children of involved fathers are more likely to enjoy school, have better academic success and more positive peer relationships, have fewer behavior problems, and become more responsible adults. When fathers are involved with their child’s education, Dad sends an essential message – education is important.
It is not only the kids who benefit from their dad’s involvement. Research also finds that men who are involved fathers feel more self-confident and effective as parents, find parenting more satisfying, and feel more fundamentally important to their children.
Since 2008 the National Center for Fathering has sought to champion the role of effective fathering by inspiring and equipping men to be more involved in the lives of children. The National Random Sampling showed percentages of dads who responded “NEVER”
How can we attract more Head Start Fathers involved in the program?
- Welcoming Climate! Does the physical environment of the program make fathers feel welcome? Do you know his first name or do you simply call him “Dad”? Ask Dads to provide ideas for making simple changes in the center to make it more inviting and comfortable for men.
- Encourage employment of Men in Head Start Programs! To attract Dads to the program, it is beneficial if they see other fathers who are working in the program. Your program has to intentionally work to offer fathers practical, encouraging ways to be involved. Seeing other men involved is a great first step.
- Encourage a mother’s support. Men are more likely to be involved dads when mothers expect and believe parenting is a joint venture. When a child’s mom believes the role of fathers is very important, the father tends to place greater importance on his own role.
Is your Head Start program actively inviting father participation, helping fathers understand the vital role they play, and making it easy and practical for dads to get involved?