When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Even if you do not share a home with your kids, your active involvement in your child’s education can have a lasting and positive impact.
Research shows that when fathers are engaged in children’s education, student grades and test scores improve, attendance increases, and students are more involved in school activities. For example,
• Preschoolers with involved fathers have stronger verbal skills than those with less involved fathers.
• Girls who have a close, warm relationship with their father have stronger math skills and abilities.
• Boys with highly involved fathers in their life receive higher grades and perform a year above their expected age level on achievement tests.
In contrast, when fathers are not engaged, children are two times more likely to repeat a grade or drop out of school. There are countless ways to be involved in your child’s education at all ages. This page can help you explore how to support your child and encourage lifelong learning.
Tips & Best Practices
- Fathers play a meaningful role in positively contributing to their children's language and literacy development. This brief offers tips on the importance of father-child reading and provides a handout with tips for what you can do to help your kids develop language and academic skills.
- Bullying is becoming more commonplace with children in school and beyond (including on social media). Fathers can play an important role in helping to stop bullying and monitoring their children’s behaviors. By sharing your own childhood experiences, you can then reflect on your children’s current behaviors. Fathers can also join organizations like WatchDOGS that work to end bullying in schools.
- Find more information on education policies that affect your kids, homework help tips (English and Spanish), tips on monitoring homework, and a variety of helpful tools.
- Increase father involvement in schools and in their children's education. This webinar: Fatherhood Buzz - Back to School Initiative: Effective Strategies for Increasing Father Involvement in Schools provides resources and tips on increasing father school involvement.
Fathers, uncles, male mentors, grandfathers, brothers, and community leaders recently gathered at the Café at Chicago Vocational Career Academy in Chicago, IL to share what men can do to increase their involvement and support in the lives of their children—especially their education.The Department of Education (ED) was honored to sponsor the event alongside other federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services as well as father serving organizations such as Black Star Project, Watch D.O.G.S., the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and Real Men Charities.
How can I get more involved in my child's education?
Make it a point to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and principal. These are your partners in your child’s education, and they are important people in your child’s life. Do your best to get to know them and make sure they know who you are. Attend every parent/-teacher conference possible. This is your opportunity to hear directly from the teacher about your child’s progress in school, educationally and socially.
How can I save for child's post high-school college or career training?
Consider opening a 529 plan. A 529 savings plan is a great way to save for your child’s college education. The earlier you start contributing, the more time your funds will have to grow. There are separate plans in each state.
I do not live in the same location as my child. How can I be more involved in their education?
You can still be actively involved in your child’s education, even if you are long-distance! When you talk with your child, ask about school, what they did and who they played with, and what they learned. Hold virtual parent-teacher conferences to discuss your child’s academic progress. Make it a point to visit and attend special events, such as band or choral recitals or graduations, if possible.