Father’s Day is a brilliant way of celebrating dads and all that they bring to our lives. Everywhere we look in shopping centres in the lead up to Sunday 7 September this year, promotional material encourages us to show dad how much we care and to spoil him, and it is around this time that early childhood educators organise our Father’s Day activities in centres.
While Father’s Day is exciting for many children, as with any occasion that is about celebrating a particular role within families, it should be approached with the knowledge in mind that not all children come from families that have a father present for many varied reasons.
Father’s Day discussions with children can be a great way of opening up a dialogue about the different shapes and sizes of families and the different roles of various adults in their lives. Letting children know that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ family can be incredibly comforting to a child who may feel uncomfortable about their family situation and can teach other children about diversity.
Here’s our top five tips for approaching Father’s Day with care this year:
1. When talking to children about Father’s Day, keep in mind not all children will have dads involved in their lives, while some may have two dads.
2. If you’re hosting a Father’s Day celebration, open the invite to dads, step-dads, grandfathers and uncles.
3. Don’t be afraid to open the dialogue about family diversity and the different families that children may have.
4. When embarking on activities such as card and gift-making, suggest the options for who children may like to design their creation for rather than specifying ‘for dad’.
5. Some children may even like to make more than one item for the occasion if they have more than one father figure in their lives.
As always, we’d love to hear your tips for creating an inclusive and positive Father’s Day experience in your centre, and in your home.
If you’d like to explore family diversity with your children in centres or at home, these books may be a good starting point exploring modern families, adoption, divorce, same-sex families, death of a parent and more: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/divorce-books-children?page=0
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