Dads: Your Kids Need Your Time

“Kids spell love T-I-M-E.”

~Dr. Ken Canfield, Founder and President, National Center for Fathering

Life with a baby seemed like a never-ending series of diaper changing and baby-feeding; I could not get a thing done around the house. One day when my husband came home from work, he took the baby upstairs to his office to get him out of my hair. As I cleaned up, I did not hear one peep from upstairs. Hmm, suspicious. That night I asked my hubby, “How did you keep the baby so quiet?” He answered, “I gave him some of my old papers to play with while I did my work.” Apparently the kid ate it up – or ate the paper – either way, he was entertained.

Dads – you gotta love them!  They just have a way sometimes. A way that I would never be able to pull off.  And that’s part of what makes their place in the family so important. Research on the U.S. Government’s Health and Human Services’ website shows that fathers who spend time with their children provide an irreplaceable and beneficial effect on their kids. For instance:

  • “Fathers who spend time with their children playing and having fun contribute to the child’s development, teaching them, for example, how to explore the world and how to keep aggressive impulses in check. When it comes to father-child fun, active pursuits like tossing the football, playing basketball, hiking, or going to the library are more valuable for their relationship and for their child’s emotional well-being, social development, and physical fitness than spending time in passive activities such as watching television” – or, ahem, giving them paper to play with.
  • “Fathers who engage in productive activities with their children such as household chores, washing dishes after dinner, or cleaning up the backyard promote a sense of responsibility and significance in children that is linked to greater self-esteem, academic and occupational achievement, psychological well-being, and civic engagement later in life.”
  • “Fathers who spend time fostering their children’s intellectual growth—from reading to their children to meeting with their child’s teacher—contribute to their children’s academic success. Some studies show it is more important than the mother’s involvement.”

All fathers are unique as are all families, and what one Dad does to spend time with his child might be different from what another Dad would do. The important thing is that they spend the time – it’s all good!

By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator
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