Since 2006, the Centre for Fathering has been encouraging fathers to take time out from work in the first two days of the school year to ease their children into a new class. Back to School with Dad is an initiative organised by the Centre for Fathering, DADs for Life and MUMs for Life, in partnership with Families for Life and in support of Made for Families, which aims to encourage fathers to accompany their children to school on the first two days of a new school year, so as to reassure their children of their interest and involvement in their academic journey.

Virtual Back to School with Dad cards have also been designed for fathers and mothers to write a note of affirmation and encouragement, which they can send to their children’s mobile phone or place the printed cards in their lunchboxes or school bags, so that their children can be pleasantly surprised during recess. Check back in December for the next edition!

Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Second Minister for Education, said, “Parenting has changed through the years in several ways, and the role of fathers in the family is becoming more important, especially throughout their schooling years. Gone are the days where fathers are regarded as feared disciplinarians in the family. Today’s fathers must connect emotionally with their children and provide unconditional love to their children.

It is heartening to see fathers today, more actively involved in their children’s lives. This contributes to the child’s emotional health, overall wellness, social development and self- respect. As fathers, we play a unique role in our child’s life and make a significant difference in shaping their self-esteem, character and values.

As a father myself, I try to have regular and open communication with my children to understand them and let them know that I am always there for them. Being present during their key milestones like sports day or drama performance is critical as it tells our children that they are important that we will set aside time for them.”

Dr Maliki added, “Through the Back to School with Dad initiative, we hope to remind fathers to be more involved in their children’s schooling journey. Especially, on a day to day basis. Support your child’s schooling journey by helping them prepare for school, sending them to school when school re-opens and being involved in the school by volunteering in DADs for Life Father Groups. This promotes stronger father-child bonding. It also strengthens the relationship with the school, increasing the child’s confidence attending school.

I look forward to seeing more fathers be involved in their children’s journey and make time to send their children to school and to write notes of encouragement to them on a regular basis and not just only on the first few days of school. Be inspired to make your father-child interaction more achievable, enjoyable and celebrated in the community.”