• Behavior
  • Health
  • Parenting

Kids thrive when dads play

  • Posted

Father might not always know best, but he certainly knows what’s good for his children — just as much as Mom.

So says a 2016 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In fact, mounting evidence shows fathers’ interaction with their children reaps huge health rewards that complement the mother's role.

"Fathers really have a quite impressive impact on their children's health, including how well they do in school, how well they get along with friends, and whether children run into problems like substance abuse or delinquency," said Dr. Michael Yogman, co-author of the report and chair of the academy’s Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.

The report encourages pediatricians to initiate conversations with men and encourage their involvement, starting at birth.

The academy — which defines "father" broadly as the man or men most involved in caring for the child, regardless of the living situation or biological relation — suggests fathers influence their children in some of the following ways:

  • More likely to introduce new words, which can speed language development. In fact, a father’s communication with his 3-year-old can predict language development.
  • Rough-and-tumble play may encourage exploration and taking safe risks. (Calmer interactions with mothers provide safety and balance.)
  • Adolescents of involved fathers are less prone to high-risk behavior and to suffer from depression. Girls show a decreased risk of early puberty, early sexual experiences and pregnancy.


Back to listing

For a listing of all resources, click here.
Additional Resources
You May Also Enjoy
  • Struggling to get that homework done? Help is on the way

    • Students succeed when their parents are involved and motivated to help with homework. • Palm Beach County libraries offer lots of help for struggling parents and students. • Generally, parents should expect their child to build on 10 minutes of homework per grade level.

  • A healthy relationship with your partner benefits the whole family

    Caring for young children requires physical work, such as bathing, feeding, playing, running after toddlers and comforting them when they cry. These demands can be especially taxing and could lead to resentment between parents. That's why it's important to care for your adult relationship while caring for little ones.

  • BLOG: Local parks offer great opportunities to try organized sports

    From baseball and football to cheerleading and rugby, there are a number of opportunities inside our parks where kids can join organized sports teams!