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

April 27, 2011

Staying Connected: Tips for Dads to Stay Engaged with their Children While Away from Home

Whether through divorce, separation, work, deployment or other circumstances, fathers who find themselves away from home can still play an active and engaged role in their children’s lives. Colorado dads who are creative, organized and committed to making the best of their current circumstances will continue to have a positive and rewarding relationship with their children outside of the home.

“There is growing recognition of the value and importance fathers play in the healthy development of their children,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Kids with involved fathers are less likely to participate in crime, drugs or other destructive behaviors and are more likely to excel in school and mature into responsible adults. Fathers who are away from home frequently can still make a positive impact on their children’s lives by being proactive about staying connected.”

There are many ways busy fathers can engage in their children’s lives on a daily basis. Keeping all lines of communication open and available to your children will help build and strengthen your relationship. Here are a few suggestions for maintaining connections between you and your kids from the National Fatherhood Initiative.

  1. Stay in touch regularly. Let your children know how and when they can contact you. Set up certain days and times to call and talk on the phone. If possible, send text messages or emails daily letting them know you are thinking about them.
  2. Get involved in recreation. Learn what activities your children are interested in. If possible, coach their sports teams or take them to sporting events. Attend games, plays, concerts or recitals that your children are involved in. Be their biggest cheerleader.
  3. Record yourself reading stories. Send them the book and the recording, complete with a bell that lets them know to turn the page. You will be connecting with them while being proactive in their development.
  4. Be involved in their education. Know your children’s teachers and ask for separate parent-teacher conferences if necessary. Help with school projects and daily homework assignments over the phone or through email. You can even volunteer to chaperone a school field trip or have lunch with them at school.
  5. Look for ways to improve your parenting knowledge and skills. Visit www.coloradodads.com to find more great skill-building tools for dads.
For fathers who also travel frequently, there are unique ways to stay connected and engaged with your children. Below are five tips for staying connected with your kids while traveling, also courtesy of the National Fatherhood Initiative.

  1. Send emails or text messages. Send an email telling them about what you did that day. Let them know that you are thinking about and miss them. Text a quick “I love you” or “I miss you” to show how much you care.
  2. Buy a small present. A small gift from a place that you traveled to communicates to your children that you thought about them even while you were away working. Even a simple keepsake from your travels can be a constant reminder of your love.
  3. Call or video chat. Making a quick call to check on your children is a great relationship investment. Ask your kids questions about what happened to them that day and just listen to what they tell you. Always tell them that you love them and that you will be home soon. If the resources are available to you, video chat will make the experience extra special.
  4. Build a map together. Put maps in your children’s rooms. Place one tack on the map where home is and one where you will be traveling. This will allow your children to see where you are but also know that you will be home soon.
  5. Ponder postcards. Quick, easy and fun they are still a personal way to show you are thinking about them. Kids can keep them in a scrapbook and you can revisit stories about your travels together time and time again.