Fathers and Father-Figures: Their Important Role in Children's Social and Emotional Development

Evidence shows that the quality of interactions in a father-child relationship positively impacts the cognitive, social, and moral development of young children. Parent involvement and family services staff can read this article to reinforce the importance of engaging fathers in Head Start. A father's attitudes toward his child, his child's development, and the quality of these interactions are crucial to the development of positive social and emotional skills.

Engaging Fathers in Their Children’s Learning and Development

Find out how staff can partner with fathers to best support their children’s school readiness. Research shows that engaged fathers can have significant positive effects on their children’s cognition, language, and social and emotional development in the preschool years.

Fatherhood Connection Webinar Series

This three-part webinar series focuses on effective and intentional father engagement. Learn how engaging fathers promotes children’s learning and development and strengthens the parent-child relationship.

Parent-Child Relationships

Caring and responsive parent-child relationships help children thrive in school and in life. Explore this research-based infographic to learn how and why the parent-child relationship is important. Review strategies program supervisors and staff can use the infographic to promote these relationships.


  • Distribute during staff orientation
  • Review with staff and have them journal when they observe strong parent-child relationships
  • Provide opportunities for staff to share at future staff meeting
  • Use “Value, Respect, and Support” prompts in role plays at staff meetings or during reflective supervision
  • Display on the wall as a reminder to staff

Program Staff

  • Distribute during parent orientation
  • Share with a parent as a conversation starter in the classroom or during a home visit
  • Display in the classroom or home care setting to demonstrate the commitment to parent-child relationships and to promote discussion of program goals