new school year

5 Things Dads Need to Do at the Start of the New School Year

Entering a new school year, being a dad is both an amazing privilege and a mind-numbing responsibility. Often it’s both at exactly the same time. School can be a mystery to dads, especially if you’re a family where mom handles most of the day-to-day routine. But we’re men, and it’s in our nature to want to make a difference.

It’s easy to shoot from the hip and make a mess, but we can also take this opportunity to develop an action plan. No matter the grade, kindergarten all the way through their senior year of high school, there’s practical stuff dad can do that will make a difference. Of course, we don’t want to be “that dad,” the helicopter parent who gets in the way. There are 5 things dads need to do at the start of the new school year.

1. Volunteer for something ASAP.

The school is going to need you. It makes sense to sign up now and choose what you want to do before the crunch comes. Additionally, the school will immediately know you care and that you’re involved – that is “all good” for your offspring.

2. Thank your kid’s teacher and establish clear lines of communication.

Nobody wants the first communication to be the one when someone is confused or upset. Get ahead of this one by making yourself known, knowing the teacher(s), and establishing clear lines.

3. Do homework with your kids (not theirs, yours).

This is huge. Sit down and do a work project, or the bills at the same table, or churn out some correspondence, or read a good book. Model and share the fact that homework is worthwhile and you do it too.

4. Back off! Make it your kid’s responsibility to stay on top of things, not yours!

Being aware is not the same as doing it for them. Help your child develop responsibility by expecting them to follow through and then monitoring progress.

5. Take a long hard look at breakfast and how they start the day.

The cliche is that breakfast is brain food. It’s not just what the kids eat but how they eat. No screen time, actually seated, engaged in conversation. In other words, set the ball rolling in the right direction from the outset. One of the best ways to start the day with breakfast is to attend an All Pro Dad’s Day at your child’s school. If you want to see if your child’s school has a chapter, check here. If you would like to look into what it would take to start one, check here.

No matter the grade, kindergarten all the way through their senior year of high school, there's practical stuff dad can do that will make a difference in our child's overall success. Click To Tweet
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How connected are you to your kids' school? What makes being a school dad hard? What makes it work?

Derek Maul

Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men’s resource, a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.

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Huddle with your family and ask the kids, “What are you excited about at school?” and, “What are you nervous about?”


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