Media Contact
Dan Welch
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

July 30, 2010

Back to School: A Refresher Course and Tips for Colorado Dads and Kids

Summer vacations are coming to an end, students are preparing themselves for the start of a new school year and parents are thinking about back to school shopping. Now is the time for fathers specifically to jump-start their involvement in their child’s education. Dads can play an important role in improving a child’s academic performance, helping them connect with friends and ensuring their safety at school. As August rolls on, Colorado dads are working to make the transition from summer to school as seamless as possible for their children.

“Education is crucial to a child becoming successful later in life,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Research continues to show that when fathers are actively involved in a child’s life that child is more likely to do well in school and less likely to repeat a grade or drop out. By simply asking a few of the right questions, fathers can learn more about their child’s life at school and also build a stronger, more connected relationship.”

There are a variety of ways fathers can help prepare their children for school while also beginning to take an active role in their academic success:

Set a routine.
Have your family return to their school schedule two weeks before the school year begins. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This will help the entire family adjust and not feel sleep deprived once the first day of school arrives.

Schedule check-ups and immunizations. Are your child’s shots current? Most schools will not allow children to attend school who do not meet their current immunization requirements. Prepare early and get your child immunized. Check with your child’s pediatrician or with the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition at www.childrensimmunization.org to see what vaccines your child will need to start the school year and where free or low cost immunizations are provided.

Get organized. Help your child start off on the right foot by making sure their supplies and activities are well organized. Check off the school supply lists well before the first day. Work with your child to create a calendar outlining their in school and after school activities.

Become involved.
Make a point to look at your child’s homework each night. Engage your child in conversations about what they are studying, what interests them the most at school or any concerns they may have about their teachers or classmates. Volunteer to be a chaperone on the next school field trip or function. Join the PTA or one of the 28 WATCH DOGS (Dads Of Great Students) groups in Colorado. WATCH DOGS, supported by the National Center for Fathering, provides positive male role models for students and schools by organizing fathers and father-figures to volunteer one day each year in a variety of school activities. Find out more at www.fathers.com.

Meet the teacher.
Most schools have open house nights set aside for students and parents to meet teachers and see their child’s school. If an open house day is not available, then plan on attending parent teacher conferences later this fall.

Remember when you were starting a school year
. Think about your fears and worries and try to put yourself in your child’s situation. Remember how your father, or father figure, helped you, or how you would have liked them to help you. Thinking this way will help you help your child during this stressful time of their life.

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to State, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.