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Florida School District Holds A 'Dads Take Your Child To School Day' — To Get More Dads To Participate In Their Kids' Lives

Photo: Basil Otshudi / Pexels 
Dad with kids

On September 21, 2023, the Palm Beach County school district in Florida put a parenting initiative into action by inviting dads to be the ones to take their kids to school. 

While the state's Department of Education's website offers resources for both parents and teachers to be more active in students’ education, the initiative aims to specifically increase dads’ engagement in their kids’ school experience. 

The Florida school district held a ‘Dads Take Your Child To School Day'.

The Florida Department of Education modeled the initiative on research from the past 30 years, highlighting the positive effects that family engagement has on students’ academic success rates. Their website states that “findings suggest that when fathers are actively involved in their child’s education, students perform better academically, have fewer discipline problems, and become more responsible adults.”

The school district worked to make the initiative as inclusive as possible, noting that the day extended beyond biological dads’ involvement, to uncles, grandfathers, cousins, brothers — any adult male mentor figure.

kids hand resting in man's handPhoto: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas / Pexels 

As part of "Dads Take Your Children To School Day," the Department of Education offered various resources, some to help schools with outreach and others to support fathers and father figures’ involvement on the day of the initiative and beyond. The resources included guidance for the men trying their hand at this particular kind of childrearing labor, including tips on helping kids organize their backpacks and do their homework, to offering suggestions for increased fatherly engagement.

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The techniques offered for engaging dads at school and at home were practical and actionable ways for dads to be more involved in their kids’ academic lives. 

One idea was for schools to host a time for dads to come in and read or share a story, or share any talent or hobby they may have in a classroom setting. Another idea was to start a “school men’s group” to involve them in school projects, leadership teams, or improvement decisions. There was also a suggestion to organize “a mom’s day off,” for “dads and children [to] help with school clean up or beautification.”

While it’s well-intentioned, the idea of “a mom’s day off” highlights a major issue with the concept of “Dads Take Your Children To School Day” in its entirety. 

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The initiative acknowledges that in most families, household labor isn’t divided in an equitable way.

'Dads Take Your Children To School Day' sets out to right a wrong by taking meaningful action, yet parental involvement in a child’s education has to last more than one day to be meaningful. 

The reality of many families’ day-to-day experiences, at least in two-partner, heterosexual families, is that moms are the primary parents. Moms pack their kids’ lunches, get their kids dressed and make sure they’ve brushed their teeth. Moms do drop-off, and pick-up, sign permission slips, and make cookies for bake sales. 

It’s great that schools are finding ways for dads to be more involved with their kids, and at the same time, it’s sad that a day like “Dads Take Your Kids To School Day” even has to exist.

While holding “Dads Take Your Kids To School Day” is a positive start, it’s just that — a start. The sheer need for an initiative like this one highlights the fact that dads aren’t as involved in their kids’ day-to-day lives as they could be.

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dad doing homework with daughterPhoto: Annushka Ahuja / Pexels 

Kids in two-parent households need both of their parents’ support for their mental and emotional development. Moms need to not hold every single parenting role at one time, and dads need to step up their game and learn the names of their kids’ teachers, doctors, and friends. There has to be balance in order for family life to work in its most effective and nurturing ways. 

We shouldn’t need to organize a special day in order for dads to help their kids with schooling. "Dads Take Your Children To School Day" is the right move to make in that it raises awareness of what’s lacking for kids, yet we shouldn’t need to organize a special day in order for dads to help their kids with schooling. Dads should innately want to help their kids with school, to set them up for the brightest future possible.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.