Encouraging Fathers’ Involvement in Early Years Settings

Encouraging Fathers’ Involvement in Early Years Settings 3168 2334 Nursery Story

Encouraging Fathers’ Involvement in Early Years Settings

Father’s Day is here, and this is a good time to reflect on the role fathers play in their children’s development.

Unfortunately, when it comes to Early Years settings, dads aren’t usually included in their children’s activities. In some cases, this is due to their busy schedules but in others it’s caused by poor communication.

Reasons why fathers should be involved

In our experience, the relationship between parents and children has a crucial impact on their well-being. It can shape their physical, social, and emotional health in the future, and therefore it’s extremely important that dads have an active role in their learning and development.  

Studies on The Father Effect demonstrate this can aid children’s cognitive development, and those who have engaging father figures tend to do better at school and, later in life, at work. 

How to engage dads in their children’s learning

Early Years professionals have the power to get fathers directly involved in their child’s development. Let’s look at ways to achieve engagement in Early Years settings.

  • Think about how to make your nursery’s atmosphere welcoming to parents, not just to the little ones i.e., create a relaxed but professional environment making sure parent engagement is a priority.
  • Communicate! If fathers aren’t engaged in their child’s nursery activities, it’s worthwhile to find the reasons why in a sensitive and non-intrusive way. 
  • Encourage fathers to join dad-toddler groups. Hopefully, one day we’ll be able to use the term “parents”, without making unnecessary distinctions between “mothers” and “fathers”. For the time being, setting up a father-toddler group can be a first wonderful step to get fathers engaged and show them how bonding can transform the dad-toddler relationship.
  • If your setting offers parent-toddler activities, include sessions that will appeal to fathers too. Messy play is usually very effective at that. We recently wrote a blog post about messy play.
  • Once you’ve developed a good relationship with the parents, encourage them to be involved in their child’s growth at home too. For example, you can send out newsletters with practical ideas or discussing common engagement barriers and how to overcome them.

The importance of father-toddler relationship

The more involved fathers are, the more they’ll realise the positive influence they can have on their child’s development. Some fathers may just need a little help, and it’s in our power to offer that. 

Being inclusive and encouraging parent-child bonding at Early Years settings and at home is a team effort, so make sure everyone at your nursery is on board. Remember that Nursery Story has been developed to enable smooth communication with parents

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