A lot of people underestimate the importance of playtime when it comes to childhood development. However, as more time is going by, we are beginning to understand exactly how important play is.
Not only is playtime, in general, an important aspect of childhood development, but a recent study found that playtime with dad specifically boosted brain development. The study was conducted by a team at the Imperial College London, King’s College London University. Researchers videoed fathers playing with their 3-month-old babies for three minutes on a mat on the floor without toys, and then videoed them during a book reading session after they had turned two.
What they found was that the babies who had strong engagements with their father during playtime were far more likely to score well on their tests at the age of two. Tests included recognizing shapes and colors.
Additionally, they discovered that reading activities between father and child resulted in higher attention span, better problem-solving skills, and improved language. Not only that, but they also found that playtime with dad boosted social development as well.
In another study carried out by the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge LEGO foundation, kids who had more playtime with their dads early in life demonstrated better emotional and behavioral control later in life.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of all of this to me is that while mothers are typically the primary caregivers, father and child time is just as important. It could arguably be more important, at least on some levels. Up until recently, most studies of this kind focused primarily on the mother and child relationship. Now, with more research like this, we are starting to see how both sides of the coin are equally as necessary. Especially when it comes to boosted brain development.
How Dad’s Play
Various research over the years has pointed to the fact that fathers have a pivotal role in a child’s mental and physical growth, and development. Every parent has their own way of dealing with children. Dads are more often associated with rough play which includes tickling, bouncing, throwing kids in the air and chasing.
How Play Time With Dad Affects the Child
You should never underestimate the importance of play time with dad. It is said to play an important role in helping children with self-regulation and dealing with difficult emotions. This is because typically the type of play associated with dads is known to excite the child, which gives them a chance to learn to calm down.
Play Time with dad helps with:
Fathers are known to ask more questions and speak in ways that typically challenge the child’s developmental language skills while teaching them about social communication exchange.
Helps With Problem Solving And Motor Development
Children who play with their fathers have good adaptive and problem solving skills compared to those who do not get a lot of playtime with their fathers. Further, they tend to be more playful, skillful, resourceful and attentive to any problem put in front of them.
Exploration and Security
Dad’s style of play enables children to be more curious and eager to explore their environments and react positively to new things. It also helps the children tackle unfamiliar situations and handle stressful situations better.
Helps To Build A Stronger Relationship With Dad
Playing with dad adds vitality and resilience to their relationships. It helps children to connect on a deeper level with their father, and over the years it helps to create a positive bond with dad.