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Go Ask Mom

3 ways dads make a big difference in their kids' lives

Posted June 21, 2020 6:32 a.m. EDT

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

We might make fun of his dad jokes or those long naps he takes on the couch, but dads can make a big difference in the lives of their children. Those with active and loving dads in their lives know this to be true. Research underscores why they're so important too.

So, on this Father's Day, we're highlighting a few ways dads are critical to the success of their kids, thanks to information and tips from the Council on Contemporary Families at the University of Texas-Austin.

Dads foster their kids' mental development.

Research shows that they:

Here's how dads can help kids grow mentally, according to the Council on Contemporary Families:

  • Read together with young children and engage them in back-and-forth conversation using wh-questions (i.e., Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?).
  • For older kids, form a book club where you both read the same book and talk about it together.
  • When on the playground, stand back and allow children to attempt new activities on their own first, without interfering, but provide safety and encouragement from the sidelines.

Dads help kids grow emotionally.

Research shows that dads help their kids:

Here's how dads can help kids grow emotionally, according to the Council on Contemporary Families:

  • When your kids are upset, validate their feelings and help them brainstorm solutions or alternatives to the source of their frustration. For example, if your child gets upset that a favorite toy broke, tell them it’s okay to be sad and help them figure out how to fix it or suggest another fun activity they could do instead.
  • Hug your kids often, and tell your kids that you love them as much as you can.

Dads help their kids grow up to be healthy.

Dads help their kids grow up healthy when they:

Here's how dads can help kids grow healthfully, according to the Council on Contemporary Families:

  • Kids are more likely to eat foods that they helped prepare, so involve your kids in making meals and snacks. Even preschoolers can help prepare food (for example, washing or mixing ingredients, brushing bread or potatoes with oil) and older kids can help with chopping and cooking.
  • Take walks or hikes together, play tag or basketball.