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Almost all of us unanimously believe that an Involved Dad = Successful Child. Then why is it that a recent survey conducted by Neilson In association with Pampers shows that 90% of the dads are not involved in the early years of their child’s development? Do dads feel that their active role only begins once the child needs guidance in areas of education, safety and sports? Do dads understand the important role that they can play in the early years of their child’s development too? I will talk about this in a while in this article.
When MyCity4Kids experts and panelists talked to a diverse group of moms and dads across the country they found that most moms tend to give too many instructions to the dad, everytime he makes an effort to get involved. We tend to bombard them with what to do, when to do, how to do, where to do! And if they happen to do everything right we tell them how to do it better still next time around. So the dad tends to step back and take the role of a mere backup, happy to offer a helping hand when asked for. He ends up being a mirror image of the mom.
But the baby doesn’t really need another mom, what he needs is a dad. A dad brings a new perspective to a child’s life. Usually the mother is softer by nature while the father is more confident about himself. The father has more wisdom while the mother could be good at art. The father has the strength for outdoors while the mother has more patience. In my experience the child behaves better, learns more and are better adjusted if their dad is actively involved. And that's precisely why dads must be involved in early years of their child's development.
Having the dad around and involved in both positive parenting and play makes a massive difference in their early childhood. Here is my take on what a dad can do in the early years and how it impacts his baby’s development.
Under 1 year olds
When you are a first time dad, it takes a while to understand what all you can do and how you can interact. Simple acts like your touch becomes very soothing for the baby and your eye contact provides meaningful communication. They learn to follow moving objects. When you speak to them they follow your lip movement closely and try to imitate your facial movements. Their vocabulary starts to build up. They enjoy when they see you mimicking them or playing peek-a-boo. When you give bath to your baby or night bottle feed, the close eye contact helps the baby gain confidence in you. They look at you at the second most important anchor in their life. Babies are dependent on others for 100%of the things, so when they see you around them they feel more confident. They are more happy and cheerful.
Simple Activities: Swaddling and diapering, night feeding, singing nursery rhymes, playing peek-a-boo, go-get games, spot the dot.
1-2 year olds
Play is the work of the child. Babies have a natural curiosity in the world around them. They are eager learners and are developing their thinking skills and sense of logic. If you have noticed, babies are very busy thinking, figuring out things, being creative and spontaneous in their solutions. And when you as a dad bring in your wisdom and enriching experience to this whole thinking process it stimulates their senses and sparks their curiosity. You help promote an interest in learning that lasts a lifetime. When my husband reads a book on cars or a game of football, my baby’s eyes pop out with excitement. He knows daddy will show him the bonnet of the car when they go out next. That daddy will let him hold some of the tools while fixing that nail on the wall and that his creative inputs will be welcomed and well answered.
Simple Activities: Doll house, lots of reading and role play, car and tricycle wash or messy play, take him along for simple household chores, simple outdoor sports and gymnastics.
3 year olds and above
Children learn to share and take responsibility when they see mommy and daddy doing so. You are the first and best role model for your child and don’t under estimate the impact you are making on the attitude towards their own life. When they see you sharing and caring for each other, taking turns with playing, reading, feeding they grow up to be compassionate and empathetic to others. Kids learn mostly by what they see and experience, much more than when they are told to do something. They learn to take responsibility from an early age.
When you tell them family stories, the child takes pride on hearing those stories. He comprehends that he is biologically related and may possess some of those admirable qualities too himself.
Simple Activities: Reading relevant snippets from newspaper, cardboard box and carpenter projects, organizing a picnic along with his friends and other dads, simple board games.
Hope a lot of new dads will find this helpful. And we are not talking about those dads who don’t intend to be involved here. I shall write about that lot separately. Soon.
When it takes 2 to make a kid, it takes 2 to raise a kid. Join us for some interesting videos on this topic #itTakes2 at https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1325705477449127&id=148518755167811