Ways for Fathers to Bond with Their Kids
Dads play a key role in helping their children develop cognitively and emotionally. It goes much further than just having a father in the house.
Father Bonding Importance
Tennessee comedian DJ Pryor has blown up the internet and owned the television and radio airwaves in this week or so leading up to Father’s Day 2019. The big story? A conversation with his infant son.
Dad and baby have a full-on discussion about the season finale of the show “Empire,” complete with epic facial expressions, even though his son doesn’t know any real words yet.
Thanks to heartwarming videos like Pryor’s, as well as numerous studies, the profound importance of the father-child bond is now part of the mainstream conversation.
Science Backs It Up
Dads play a key role in helping their children develop cognitively and emotionally. It goes much further than just having a father in the house. Kids whose fathers are actively involved in their lives and have a strong father-child bond experience more overall life satisfaction, less depression, more positive peer interactions, better relationships with their siblings, are more tolerant and understanding, and have a lower risk for engaging in dangerous behavior such as drug use, drinking or acting out.
Creating a strong bond with your child is easier than you might think too. It’s the everyday interactions and small moments added up over time that contribute to your child’s emotional and cognitive well-being. Dads can start to bond with their children before they’re even born. Babies in the womb can hear voices. Dad can talk to the baby, sing to the baby, and read stories to the baby, so the baby recognizes his voice and knows dad is a place to go for comfort and care.
Make the Most of All of Your Time Together
As your children grow, you don’t have to plan special outing or trips in order to bond with them. Most bonding and learning happen during everyday interactions and activities:
- Share chores with your children and teach them how to do them
- Play board games your kids
- Help your kids with their schoolwork
- Play outside with your kids
- Give your kids a hug
- Talk to your kids
- Tell your kids jokes
- Read your kids bedtime stories
Fathers Bring a Special Kind of Interaction
Bedtime stories are better for children if dad reads them. According to research from Harvard University, it turns out that men and women read stories differently. Dads tend to ask their children more abstract questions about the stories they are reading, which in turn challenges children’s language and imaginative skills more.
And, those groan- and eye-roll inducing dad jokes are another way in which dads uniquely stimulate their children’s brains. Research from the University of Windsor in Canada suggests the silly puns and play-on-words that are the cornerstones of a corny joke also may promote bilateral brain development.
For too long now, society has valued the bond between mom and child over the bond between father and child, but science is showing us how dads play an equally vital role. Ultimately, helping our children feel safe, loved, and accepted has a profound effect on their capacity to learn and succeed in life.