Get Involved in Your Child's Community
Part of being involved in your child's life is being involved in the community in which your child lives. It's important for you to know the other people who interact with your child and to be an active part of what goes on in your child's world. Your involvement makes a difference, not only for your child, but for the other children and families who you are around!
Check out our 5 Ways to Be Involved in Your Child's Community to help you get started!
5 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child's Community
- #1: You have to be present to be involved: The first step to getting involved in your child's community is being present. Attend class parties or other school functions. Go to your kid's sports practice to watch the practice, meet other parents, and talk to the coach. (Plus, you can notice things to compliment your child on or help him practice at home!) Hang out in the neighborhood with your kids and their friends and interact with your neighbors. Step 1: Be there.
- #2: Get to know the people in your child's community: As you go to school events, sports practices, and hang out with neighbors, strike up a conversation with teachers, coaches, or parents about the school, the team, or their children. Getting to know the people who influence your child on a regular basis will help you understand who your child is becoming and help you make wise decisions about how to guide your child in a positive direction. Step 2: Talk to people who influence your child.
- #3: Hold events in your neighborhood to involve fathers and families: Be proactive to involve fathers in your community in family activities. Sporting events and picnics are a perfect way to bring your neighbors together. Use holidays, such as Halloween or Memorial Day, to get fathers out into the neighborhood and involved with their kids. As you model and encourage involved fatherhood, you'll make a difference not only for your child but for other children too. Step 3: Encourage other dads to be involved.
- #4: Serve in your community: Bake cookies for new neighbors or take a meal to a family who just had a new baby. Get a couple other families together to clean up the local park. Collect nonperishable foods for a local food drive. Check out www.serve.gov to search for local volunteer opportunities or to find toolkits to organize your own clothing or book drive for needy families. Serving in your community is a great way to improve the lives of other people and also help your child develop a lifestyle of service. Step 4: Serve others.
- #5: Invest in your child's most important community - Family: Your family is the community that your child will be part of for the rest of his or her life. Make sure your family regularly spends time together. Mealtime is a good opportunity for that, but be creative - go on a hike, play board games, have a movie night. Turn off your mobile phone and laptop during these times - make sure your family knows that they are your #1 priority! Step 5: Invest in your family.
Why is all of this important? Of all the people in your child's community, you are the one who has the most influence on your child and can most significantly influence which communities your child chooses to be involved in later in life. Research shows that kids with involved fathers are much less likely to be involved in gangs, fail academically, or become teen parents. By being involved in your child's community, you can shape that community to be one that points your child in a positive direction.
Dad, take action today to get involved in your child's community! A few small steps can make a big impact!