Involved dads have probably the largest affect on a child's education. Don't believe me, consider some of these statistics from Fatherhood.org!
Preschoolers with actively involved fathers have stronger verbal skills.
Radin, N., 1982, “Primary Caregiving and Role-Sharing Fathers,” in Non- Traditional Families: Parenting and Child Development, edited by M. Lamb, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 173–204.
Children with actively involved fathers display less behavior problems in school.
Amato, P.R., and Rivera, F., 1999, “Paternal Involvement and Children’s Behavior Problems,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 375–384.
Girls with strong relationships with their fathers do better in mathematics.
Radin, N., and Russell, G., 1983, “Increased Father Participation and Child Development Outcomes,” in Fatherhood and Family Policy, edited by M.E. Lamb and A. Sagi, Hillside, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 191–218.
Boys with actively involved fathers tend to get better grades and perform better on achievement tests.
Biller, H.B. 1993, Fathers and Families: Paternal Factors in Child Development, Westport, CT: Auburn House.
Research shows that even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem solving capacity. Fathers’ involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems.
Pruett, Kyle D. 2000. Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. New York: Free Press.
Highly involved fathers also contribute to increased mental dexterity in children, increased empathy, less stereotyped sex role beliefs and greater self-control.
Abramovitch, H. 1997. Images of the "Father" in The Role of the Father in Child Development. M.E. Lamb, Ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons.
So dads, the question then becomes: ARE YOU BEING A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON YOUR KID'S ACADEMIC SUCCESS? Here are some tips to help push you even further to be involved and engaged:
1. Know Their Teachers! Ask your kid(s) for their teacher's names, what classes are they taking from what teacher? What do they like about their teacher? How can you help them really succeed in school? Don't hesitate to write the teacher an email asking how your son or daughter is doing in their class and what you can do to be more involved in their studies.
2. Help Out With Homework! No, I can't do long division, but Google can. And what's more important than being a walking-talking Google is you being at the kitchen table with your kiddos while they work on it WITH YOU! And when they bring back that blue ribbon, or red, or white, or "participation," you be sure to put that thing on the fridge! Congratulate your kiddo when they complete a tough assignment. It tells them that the effort made is just as important as the success obtained.
3. Visit Their School! Yes, you do have time to visit their school. It might not be during normal school hours, but if you can make it to parent-teacher conferences, school parties, concerts, plays, whatever else your child may be in at the school, be sure you ATTEND! It's important that your child sees you there and that you are involved. It also helps to put names to faces and will help give more content to your conversations, "Hey that computer lab in your school is pretty cool. What is your favorite thing to do in the lab?"
I have faith in you guys! The reality is that our kids need our involvement in their lives in order to succeed better in school. So BE INVOLVED. It may seem daunting at first (who wants to re-read Hamlet?!), but remember WHY our involvement is so necessary!
Thankfully there is no test or grade point average you have to worry about anymore, you just have to worry about your kids'. I'm not sure which is worse, but are confident that by being present and involved in your kids' lives, they will be academically ahead! Who knows, you could be studying with the next President of the United States (hopefully they turn out a bit better than our current candidates!).