May 25, 2018

Super Dads

I have three little humans living in my house. They love me to the moon and back but there’s nothing as special to them as their dad. When he walks through the door, they can’t contain their excitement. They literally jump into his arms. It’s seriously like a welcome home parade every single day. And for good reason. He’s honestly the best dad I’ve ever seen. He reads to them each night (in character voices!) and he always takes time to play with them even when I know he is exhausted from work. He’s always there to offer life advice when they have a problem and he always backs me up 100 percent of the time when one has behaved badly during the day. I watch the way they learn and listen to him and I am just in awe of how special dads truly are. Dads are the support system and the protection system of the family and they deserve all the credit that they get. If you’re like me, there are times when you probably forget to tell dad just how much of superhero he truly is but with Father’s Day coming up, it’s the perfect time to recognize just why he’s the best at what he does.

Why Dads Are Awesome

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having a father who is involved in a child’s life can yield more positive results for the child including improved academic success, less time spent in trouble and a trend toward more positive life choices later on.[1] If that’s not awesome enough, dads who read to their children help develop their language skills at a faster rate than those who aren’t read to. Father’s also play a significant role in the development of children’s social skills by the time they are in the fifth grade.[2] Scientifically, researchers are finding out that dads have much more of a greater influence on their children’s lives than previously thought. In years past, the way the mom/dad duties were divided was different because moms were usually home and dads were usually at work. But in today’s world, where it takes two paychecks to stay afloat, dads have had to jump in to pick up the slack and that’s an awfully great thing. Super dads are popping up everywhere—carrying babies in carriers, grocery shopping with tots in tow and showing up at neighborhood playdates. It’s really an amazing step in the right direction of parenting.

Keeping the Dad Bond Strong

So if you’re a dad and aren’t sure how to encourage your child’s development, rest assured that it’s easier to do than you think. Here are five fun but easy ideas for impacting your child’s daily life. You’ll love getting to know your littles better and they’ll love every second of hanging out with their favorite superhero.

Activity 1: Dinner with Dad

It’s important to spend time at the dinner table together as a family. Make sure to ask questions about your child’s day and give them some insight into yours. They’ll look forward to being heard and seen each day at dinner time. You’ll also model good behavior and table manners which will carry over when your child is away from your care.

Activity 2: Dad’s Day Out

There’s nothing more fun than going out with dad by yourself. Take your little one to the grocery store or trash dump with you. These special rides will stay in your littles memories forever. If you have some vacation days stored up, take your little one on their first fishing trip or camping outing. They’ll love being out in nature with their dad.

Activity 3: Pretend Play

There’s nothing more fun than suiting up and battling your favorite nemesis. How cool is it for a kid when their dad actually dresses up like Darth Vader or Baymax. There’s nothing more fun than pretending with your little one. Let them pick what you should be and go big with the pretend play. If they want to play Robin Hood, really dress and act the part. They’ll have the time of their lives and you’ll probably have a good time too.

Activity 4: Go Sports Crazy

We know you’ll be ready to do all the sporty things with your little one. Make an obstacle course, head to the soccer field or go watch your favorite sport in action. Enjoying the day with your little one is definitely dad/kid bonding at it’s finest. Teaching your little one to ride a bike and throw a ball count just as much!

Activity 5: Bedtime Stories

My husband recently started reading our 6-year-old Harry Potter for the first time. It’s a special thing that they share each night and it’s a tradition that is all their own. Pick a special chapter book to read to your little one each night and make that your very special Dad/Kid time. Having that time to talk and ask questions is really priceless for your little one and will reap years of reward both for your child’s language development and for you.

We are so thankful for Dads in our lives that help direct and guide children to be the best version of their selves. For all the times we’ve forgotten to say it—DADS, you really are superheroes and we love you!

 

Sources:

[1] National Health Statistics Reports link

[2] MSU Today link

Jones, Jo Ph.D., Mosher, William D. “Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children: United States, 2006–2010.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vital Statistics.

Michigan State University, “Dads Play Key Role in Child Development,” July 2016.

About the Author:

Tracy E. Brown is a journalist and educator with over 14 years of experience working in the field of Child Development. She is currently the Assistant Editor of Black Dress/Red Wagon Magazine in Atlanta, Ga. and previous Associate Editor at Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine. She previously taught preschool at the Goddard School in Farragut, Tennessee and taught Kindergarten for Dekalb County Schools in Atlanta. Other writing credits include the Green Building Research Institute, London’s facetheory.com, WBIR Channel 10 News, PBS, Duke University and American Airlines. She is also a mom to three adorable little ones.

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