Most parents have a lot of things to worry about when school time rolls around – peer pressure, loss of innocence, bullying, sexting, etc. As a dad, I have the opportunity to launch my children well going back to school and ease any fears we may have.
#1 Be Intentional Today, Don’t wait for Tomorrow: In an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, it was found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother. Seize the day because you matter and you make a BIG difference in your child succeeding in school. One of the things I love to do is leave notes in my kid’s lunches. For my girls I will let them know they are loved. For my son I will tell him how proud I am of him and to be “strong and courageous.”
#2 Your Home is a Castle: Dads play a critical role in the development of their child’s self-esteem and confidence which means they are less likely to be depressed. Make sure your home is not just physically safe but emotionally safe. Use dinner time as a great way each day to invest in your kids. Our family does “highs and lows” on a regular basis because it gets our kids talking. It also helps build positive and healthy walls around their heart.
#3 Be Available: This is the one where I feel I fail the most as a dad. In the daily grind of schedules, activities and homework, keeping the kids to a schedule can feel like I am managing a project versus loving and nurturing my kids. Don’t miss moments where your children are telling you about their day or what they are feeling; don’t tune out – tune in and be available.
#4 Pray Together: My son was experiencing some bullying at school. After we talked through the situation about how to deal with it we prayed about it. We also prayed for the bully. My son and I have made a habit of praying together each morning. We can pray about friends and situations, tests, etc. It is a great way to start our day. The other thing that drives this for me is that when I drop my kids off for school I don’t know what that day holds. I would hate the last thing we remember are words misspoken.
#5 Support Your Wife: Some of my biggest failure moments as a husband and dad is when I am clueless about our family’s schedule or not supportive of my wife who typically handles a lot of the detailed functioning of the home. As routines are being established for the school year, have your wife’s back. Be in agreement with how you will be handling things as school starts (missing homework, bedtimes, etc.). Trust me; any good child will take advantage of mom and dad not being on the same page. Prevent that from happening.
These are my top five back-to-school tips, and the areas I’ll working at intentionally in the next few months. I hope you find them helpful. Even though I struggle with some of them, when I get them right all is right in the world – especially in my home.
What are your top tips for getting your kids back to school?
Roy Baldwin (@baldwin_roy) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Director of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family. Follow us on Twitter @DadMattersBlog