Programs aimed at dads are pivotal in equipping fathers with essential child-rearing skills. They also provide an opportunity for men to connect with peers going through similar experiences. However, fatherhood programs and initiatives often struggle to get men initially involved and keep them actively participating over the long term.
Here are several key strategies to maintain fathers' enthusiasm in your program.
Make the Content Relevant and Practical
Programs that include concrete life skills will get more buy-in from dads. Instruction on topics like discipline, managing family finances, playing constructively with kids, and handling emotions resonates more than abstract advice. NFI's 24:7 Dad® program does just this! When men walk away with practical tips they can immediately apply at home, they stay motivated.
Facilitate Meaningful Peer Connections
Men often resist asking for help or sharing vulnerabilities. Fatherhood programs should foster relationships between dads by providing a judgment-free space to exchange stories, challenges, and lessons learned. Knowing they're not alone in doubts or struggles can encourage men to keep returning. Small support groups are ideal for open dialogue.
Use Incentives Thoughtfully
External rewards like prizes or money can help initially engage reluctant dads. However, be careful about relying too heavily on short-term extrinsic motivators. The goal is to spark men's intrinsic desire to be present and engaged fathers. Help dads see the inherent value in active participation, above and beyond any material incentives.
Make the Program Father-Friendly
Consider the timing, location, format, and overall vibe to create a dad-centered environment. Evening or weekend sessions may accommodate fathers' work schedules better. Incorporate interests like sports that appeal to men. Maintain a casual, positive atmosphere where dads feel comfortable. Getting logistics right makes it easier for men to show up. And don't forget to make your location father-friendly with posters and resources specifically for dads!
Check In Regularly and Solicit Feedback
Consistently seek input from fathers on curriculum topics that interest them, presentation formats they respond to, convenient scheduling, and other needs. Periodically adjusting program components based on their feedback makes dads feel heard and keeps material relevant to their concerns as parents.
Highlight Growth and Progress
Look for opportunities to celebrate men's commitment to participating and developing new skills. People are motivated when their effort is recognized. Remind fathers of how much they're learning by being involved. Show them how they're becoming more confident, caring dads.
When programs make dads feel understood and equipped with tangible fathering abilities, they stay eager and engaged. Keeping fathers invested for the long haul leads to positive outcomes for the whole family!