Good Fathering

Dad’s Involvement with Young Kids Aids Achievement

A study by the University of Illinois attests that fathers who change diapers and engage in a range of playful activities with their young children stay more involved as their offspring grow older. Families also realize positive effects on the youngsters’ academic achievement and social skills, findings that are supported by earlier studies. Significantly, the researchers found that when fathers build close, loving relationships with their children in the preschool years, they’re “writing a script” that determines how connected they are, and that script will continue past early childhood.

Affectionate gestures establish and continue that involvement. “That can be as simple as a father winking at his three-year-old,” says Brent McBride, professor of human development at the university. In contrast, fathers who seek to establish a close bond when the child is older have a more difficult time because, McBride warns, “the moment has passed.”

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