Fathers can feel welcome in your program or center when staff make an effort to get to know them as individuals and family members. Each staff member who works with families, including program directors, home visitors, teachers, transportation staff, and others, can show fathers that their role is valued.
Here are some examples that you can apply to create a culture of inclusiveness for fathers:
- Include fathers in all family engagement opportunities and activities.
Example: Invite expectant fathers, partners, and other family members to participate in prenatal and postpartum education and services.
- Schedule meetings when fathers and other family members are available to participate.
Example: "You mentioned your schedule makes morning meetings a challenge; is there a better time for us to talk?"
- Embrace attitudes that show fathers their contributions are important and valuable.
Example: "Can you tell me how you think your child learns best," or "What do you do to comfort your child when she is upset?"
- Engage a father in a conversation about his child's learning and development by describing your observations of the child. Listen to the meaning he makes about your observation. The information he shares with you will help bring you both to a mutual understanding about his child.
Teacher: Hi Andy. Do you have a few minutes? I wanted to share a quick story from Christopher's day.
Andy (Father): Sure.
Teacher: Today on the playground, I saw him give a make-believe cupcake to another little boy who was crying.
Andy [amused]: He did?
Andy: I bet the idea about the cupcake came from this weekend.
Teacher: What happened this weekend?
Andy: On Saturday, he cried because his best friend couldn't come over to play with him, so I took him to the bakery and bought him a cupcake. It definitely put a smile on his face.
Teacher: Sounds like Christopher learned some things from you this weekend.
Andy: Yes, sounds like it. I feel good that he is learning from me how to be caring to others.
Teacher: I think it says a lot about your relationship with him.
Father: Yeah! He's my buddy.
Topic: Family Engagement
National Centers:Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: December 3, 2019