Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Make Everyday Father's Day

It may not be Father's Day yet here in Australia, but many of my North American counterparts have already celebrated this day. And while most of those blogger will be more than likely posting about creating Father's Day gift ideas with the children, I will taking a slightly different approach.
Photo found on More4Kids post about fathers

Now many of the ideas my blogging colleagues will post about will undoubtedly be wonderful and a challenging and meaningful learning experience for the children. Yet for me this day presents the perfect opportunity to get dads into our services and be hands on with the children. And I mean all children, not just their own.

This day opens up so many opportunities men to become more involved with their children's services, but why would we stop there? Are we limited to providing such opportunities to days such as Father's Day? Doesn't that make our efforts seem a bit tokenistic? Perhaps the best of intentions are behind such ideas and they do help all children connect with masculine figures. Yet I propose something more. Or should I say something more significant.

If we are open to inviting dads, grandads, uncles, pops, cousins, older brothers or whatever male family member there is into our services then we are creating a welcoming and friendly environment for men. Now this is significant because many men feel as though they are strangers in early childhood settings. Yes they drop off and collect their children, even engage in conversations with staff. But how many of them actually consider or are able to spend at least part of a day in their child's daytime environment.

Now I realise there are many men who do just that, but they are still very much the minority. There are also those who are unable to make such commitments. However, there are still plenty that need opportunities to be presented before they even think about stepping in. Some may even need a little convincing. I'm in a unique position. As a male EC professional I find dads tend to relax a bit more around me, yet I still see opportunities missed.
So here's the challenge. Create an atmosphere in your setting that is father friendly. pictures depicting men with children is a good start. Perhaps invite dads to bring their own expertise to the children. This could be a trade skill, office acumen or even domestic duties. Whatever it is they could be shared with the children, including bringing in 'tools of the trade' so to speak.

Imagine the children's reaction when a carpenter brings in a saw. An accountant demonstrates what he does on his laptop. A truckie shows off his rig inside and out. A nurse shares some x-rays. The possibilities are endless. The beginning could be as simple as reading a book about a father. Sharing a story from their own life. Simply getting in there and playing with the children.

To quote a famous line from two very different sources; the Bible and the movie 'Field of Dreams' - "If you build it they will come."

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  1. Couldn't agree more, Greg! Well said.

  2. I love this idea, Greg! Now, to just get the Dad's to come. Dad's are often a little more hesitant to join in, but as you say, it's our job to help make them feel welcome. I often invite them to lunch with us. After visiting for lunch a few times, they are usually more apt to visit during play hours, as well. Thanks for sharing this great post! :)

  3. Research is strongly indicating it is attentive interaction that is key in child development. Thanks for placing the challenge to make every day Father's Day.

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  7. Thanks guys.

    Candy, it's just a bit shorter than yours huh?

    Ayn, we can all do a better job at getting more dads ans other males in.

    JoAnn, it would be great if there was research out there that could compare how more ale involvement impacted on children's development. There is some that touches on it, but we need to delve deeper.

    Thanks for stopping by Hank.

  8. Oh my god... Really wonderful idea. I never thought of it. Thanks