It was thought for the longest time that mothers were the most important factor in the child’s development. A lot of this was due to the traditional roles people were holding onto and their inaccurate knowledge about the importance of fathers in the growth, health and well-being of their children. More recent research has shown that fathers play a very important role in their child’s life. In order to have a positive effect on your children, fathers need to engage in active fathering. Here are the reasons why you as a father need to be more active with your child.
Love. Being an active father lets your child know how much you love them. Kids are smart and they will know that it is fairly easy to bring home gifts for them. They will also know that it takes a much greater effort to take the time to be part of their everyday life. They know and understand how much you love them when you take the time to spend time with them.
Emotional Support. When you interact with your children in an active manner you are responding to them when they experience various situations in their lives. The more you are there for them, the more you will be around them when they experience joy, love, disappointment, fear or any of the hundreds of emotions they will experience during their lifetime. Your response to them in these situations not only helps them at the time, but also serves as a model for how they should be dealing with these types of emotions.
Self-Esteem. Fathers who are active with their children also serve to increase the child’s self-esteem. Self-esteem in its simplest form is how a child feels about themselves. This is important because the higher the self-esteem a child has the happier they are and are more likely they are to do well in life. Children get a message of “I must be important if dad is spending time with me.” If you are always making excuses as to why you can’t spend time with them the message you are sending them is “you are not worth it.”
Financial. It has been shown that those families where men are involved in active fathering do better financially. Families that are better off financially are able to provide more resources for their children. For example, a child who is in this type of family may pursue more leisure activities because the family can afford them. This is turn leads to better integration for the children.
Mental Health. Children who come from a home where there is an active father are less likely to commit suicide. Although there are several reasons for this, the one that stands out is that they have better self-esteem and feel more loved. Also coming under this heading of mental health is that kids who have an active father are less likely to become a juvenile delinquent, commit suicide or be arrested as an adult.
There are many other reasons to be an active Father, but let me stop here and give you some ideas on what you can do to be a more active father. These are some ideas on how you can spend more time with your toddler.
One-On-One Time. You should set aside a specific time each week that is for just you and your toddler where you decided do something with just them. Movie and TV watching are out. The aim of this time is to converse with the toddler and this certainly won’t happen if you are watching a screen. Ideas would be to go to a playground, a walk, get an ice-cream, play in the sand box or play on the swings. The name of the game is to spend time together.
Family Time. While it is great to spend one on one time you should also have a time each week where you are with the entire family. Phones, TVs and the internet should be set aside when you are having family time. This night can be used to talk about family issues or to pursue some interests of the children.
Read Together. Kids love to hear stories and what better than sitting down, snuggling up with them and reading them a good book? Earlier in the week when you are spending one on one time with them you can take them to the library to get the book or to let them choose one.
Do A Project together. By doing a project of some sort or a craft with them you are most definitely increasing your active time with them. You could make homemade play dough together on one day and then the next time you have one on one time you can sculpture it. If you are close to a holiday pick some decorations you can do for that specific holiday.
In general just being around as much as possible will go a long way in helping you children reap the benefits of having you around.