It’s 2017, and traditional family roles are well on the way out. Dads are becoming more involved with raising the little ones, leading to one unexpected benefit, your kids may turn out smarter!
What can you read in this article?
- What is the role of a father
- Ways for dad to bond with baby
- Importance of parent and child relationship: Dad being involved
A new study shows groundbreaking links between fathers who play an active role during baby development, and their child’s better performance in cognitive tests.
Get to know the role of dad in child development through this article.
Dad is involved in raising kids. | Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels
The groundbreaking study: What is the role of a father
The study found that regardless of gender, 2-year-olds excelled in tasks like recognizing shapes when their fathers had more quality interactions with them from a young age.
Conducted by researchers from Oxford University, King’s College London, and Imperial College London, this study recorded dads playing with their children at 3-months old, and again at 2 years old, to analyze the quality and quantity of their interactions.
According to their findings, these are the key qualities of father-child interactions that led to higher child cognitive development:
Sensitivity — Children who performed better in cognitive tests had dads who were sensitive to their cues
Warmth — Paternal remoteness was negatively associated with children’s cognitive development. Children whose fathers were warmer and more engaged in play scored higher later on.
Positivity — Paternal depressive effect was also negatively linked to a child’s mental development. When dads showed higher levels of positivity and enjoyment, their toddlers shone in cognitive tests.
Role of dad in child development: Dad being involved
Dad being involved. | Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels
These amazing results can be explained by the importance of dads in creating a good learning environment for the little ones. According to the researchers, your child makes rapid advances in language and other symbolic competencies in his first year of life.
Withdrawn fathers communicate less with their infants, providing a less stimulating environment for cognitive skills to develop. In contrast, warm and loving dads support their children in engaging with the world around them, enabling them to absorb new information better.
You might be wondering whether moms have a similar impact when engaging with their little ones. Well, the researchers speculate that moms and dads may actually impact their children’s development differently.
Father-child interactions are “more stimulating, vigorous, and arousing”, making dads a child’s best bud in risk-taking and exploring. While there’s no replacing a mother’s love, dads, too, have a unique role to play in shaping the little ones into confident thinkers.
Importance of parent and child relationship: Dad being involved
How does the role of dad in child development help baby’s overall growth and well-being? Here are 5 important ways that dads affect their child.
1. Boost confidence
Children with supportive fathers are more likely to have good self-esteem and are generally happier and more confident because their fathers assist, appreciate, and love them.
They also have a higher stress/frustration tolerance, less hesitation/fear in unfamiliar situations, and a greater capacity to reject peer pressure and stand up for themselves.
2. Having a role model
Fathers serve as role models for their children and assist in the promotion and reinforcement of desirable behaviors. As a result, children who have more involved fathers have fewer behavioral and impulse control issues, longer attention spans, and are more sociable. These kids are also more sensitive and charitable, with a greater understanding of other people’s needs and rights.
3. Provides critical thinking skills and different perspectives
Children are inherently curious, and moms and fathers respond to their inquiries in different ways. Active parents who use a variety of parenting styles can expose their children to a variety of ways of critical thinking and problem-solving.
4. Feeling loved and appreciated
Having a dad as a constant source of love and support ensures that children grow up to be happy, healthy, and confident.
5. Increasing intellectual development
An involved father can help his child develop emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills. Children whose fathers were actively involved throughout their child’s first year of life perform better on cognitive development evaluations and demonstrate a greater aptitude for curiosity and exploration, according to studies.
Moreover, active fathers produce children who perform better on verbal and math tests and are less likely to drop out of school or conduct juvenile offenses.
Dad’s can help their babies to talk early, study says
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Dad confession: “Hindi ko ikinakahiya ang baby ko na may bingot—ayoko lang talagang mag-post.”
Difficulty bonding with baby
According to Jerrold Shapiro, a Counseling Psychology professor at Santa Clara University, California, and author of “The Measure of a Man: Becoming the Man You Wish Your Father Had Been,” it is quite common for fathers to experience a delay in trying to bond with their babies.
He says that for the first moments of life, the role of the father is to be the protector of both the mother and the baby. It is very important for mothers to bond with babies through breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and the father is expected to protect that bond.
Furthermore, Leslie Seppinni, a marriage family therapist and clinical psychologist, said that it is not always the father who experiences detachment and delay in bond with his baby. Mothers experience it too.
She says in an interview with ABC News, “This is like a foreign object that comes into your world; you are not prepared for it, and it takes over your time.”
Why don’t more people talk about it if it’s so common? Shapiro and Seppinni said that the stigma attached to the topic typically prevents new parents from discussing it, even if they are thinking and feeling the same way.
However, this slump can be solved and you can still bond with your child, not just as fast as other parents and children are able to.
How to start bonding with baby
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels
Mothers can get a good start in connecting with baby during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Dads, on the other hand, are also able to form the strongest and most passionate ties with their children. It may just take a little longer than it did with Mum.
1. Bond with baby even when he’s still in the womb
Pre-birth bonding can dramatically improve the likelihood that dads will have a deep attachment with their child once they are born.
From the age of 18 weeks, babies can hear in the womb. Take time every day to speak, sing, and read to your kid in the womb, no matter how foolish it may seem.
2. Cuddle and have skin-to-skin contact
As soon as possible after birth, make sure you have skin-to-skin contact with your baby. Tell the midwife you want to do this so it doesn’t go unnoticed. And that’s just the beginning of skin-to-skin contact. It’s a fantastic method for dads to stay connected to their child in the months ahead.
Skin-to-skin embraces allow your baby to hear your heartbeat and acquire your scent, just like they do for your mother if you’re breastfeeding.
3. Level up the bonding
Bonding progresses to a new level at the age of six months when your baby has reached the stage of growth where he or she is ready for some playing.
We’re talking about running around the room, bouncing the infant up and down, and tickling the baby mercilessly. This form of play increases the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and beta-endorphin by being quick, exuberant, and hazardous. This means that bonding hormones are released earlier in the process for both the baby and the father.
Not only is this a terrific method for you to truly get to know each other, but it’s also crucial to your baby’s physical and social development.
It strengthens their mental fortitude, physical coordination, and social abilities. So, daddies, go ahead and tickle, jump, and bounce your way to a stronger bond.
Get more ideas for bonding in the next section of this article.
Ways for dad to bond with baby
Dad is involved in raising kids. Photo by Vanessa Loring from Pexels
Dads, now that you know how crucial your presence is, there’s no excuse not to set aside quality time each day for your little ones. Here are some ways you can build a strong dad-baby bond with your future child geniuses!
1. Take them for a walk
Become adventurer-in-chief for your little ones! Bring them on little excursions outside, and name all the fascinating things there are to see.
2. Sing to them
According to the study, babies develop better when dads interact with them calmly! Dads often feel more uneasy about engaging with babies, believing they don’t have a natural connection like moms do. Doing something simple and soothing, like singing to them, will calm your nerves and theirs.
3. Have a ‘conversation’
It doesn’t matter if they aren’t old enough to reply yet. Talk to your cooing bundle of joy about positive ideas, paying attention to how they shift their gaze and focus on you! This can train your sensitivity to your children’s cues.
4. Read together
Reading is the ultimate brain-boosting activity for children. If your kids are old enough, teach them to read, and sit down together with a fun book every night.
5. Try a baby massage
This is a great way to have some peaceful time with your baby, while strengthening your attentiveness to his cues. Do it mindfully and be present at the moment, watching their expression for signs of bliss or discomfort.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore