Dads At Play
Research shows that young children who engage in shared play experiences with a father or father-figure starting at birth and continuing as he or she grows reap all kinds of benefits, including stronger cognitive development, greater school readiness, and more well developed social-emotional skills when compared to children with less engaged dads. Fathers who show up for their kids by sharing in play at every age are helping to build these critical skills and model what a supportive parent-child relationship looks like, potentially impacting the health and success of future generations. Way to go, Dad!
Shared play ideas for every age and stage:
- Make music together! It doesn’t matter what genre as long as you are singing and spending time together. Check out Rockabye Baby albums on Spotify for some of your favorites. Older babies will love exploring instruments!
- Provide items with different textures for your baby to touch and explore them together. Talk about how they feel!
- Toys that make noise are especially fun for babies. With very young babies, putting a rattle near their hand or foot helps him or her learn cause and effect. Exploring sound together and narrating what you and your baby are doing while you play helps with language development.
- Turn Tummy Time into a shared activity, like this Dad!
- Watch what your child is interested in doing during playtime and play right alongside them! Sharing time together doing something your child is interested in helps to strengthen the parent-child bond.
- While on a walk, talk with your child about everything you see. Allow your child to collect nature treasures he or she finds interesting and talk about them together. Spending time outdoors has numerous health benefits for kids! Check them out here.
- Music is still a favorite for toddlers! Exploring sound and music together strengthens your relationship with your child. Make it fun and playful, like this Dad!
- Continuing to play alongside your child is still a great approach! Letting children lead the way (with gentle guidance as needed) during play helps to develop leadership skills and problem solving.
- Kids love playing with boxes! Check out this read aloud of Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and play with a box with your child. This activity can be done again and again as your child grows!
- Rough and Tumble play has been proven to be highly beneficial for kids (Moms can do it, too!) Read more here.