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Happy Father’s Day!

i Jun 18th No Comments by

The following article was written by Carl Shaw of the New Jersey State Parent Information and Resource Center. Carl is an expert on parent involvement, and a father himself. We also recorded a podcast with Carl on this same subject, so please enjoy the complementary audio material.

Be sure to check out our podcast over on our website and iTunes.

There are many faces of great fathers and father figures across our nation, all of whom should be celebrated and applauded on their day of recognition this Sunday!

From single or divorced fathers, to grandfathers, uncles, coaches, teachers and community leaders… there is one thing that all father figures can give their children: the gift of time!

Children who have positive and guided experiences with both their maternal and paternal figures lead more happy, healthy and productive adult lives. Even when a child is cared for by capable and nurturing mothers, we find that fathers may bring a different and necessary dynamic to their child’s development:

  • Fathers tend to be more playful and physical; these interactions are essential for body and brain development.
  • Fathers are often more likely to encourage a child to keep trying, rather than to jump in and assist them; this helps develop confidence and self reliance.
  • Fathers generally approach childrearing with a goal of helping “prepare a child for the world” while the maternal approach to childrearing may come from their natural instinct “to protect them” from the world. These different approaches help create a sense of courage and persistence, a characteristic which is paramount for a productive and fulfilling life.

Every parent – male or female – is unique in their approach to caregiving. Varying interactions and styles, when they are healthy and positive, complement strong development for both young boys and girls. Sometimes we need to put extra effort in to reminding the men in our life how important their influence and time really is… and this Sunday is the perfect time to do so!

Here are a few ways to share quality father time with your family and children:

  • Share what time has taught you – A simple walk through town or a nice meal is a great opportunity to share with your family what you have learned about living a good life. We all make mistakes but we can use them to teach our children to make better choices.
  • Schedule time to commit to your child’s education – Make it a point to know your child’s teachers, school leaders, and curriculum so you can support your child’s educational experience. Stay informed of district and state updates to prepare for any changes or modifications in your child’s school.
  • Make time for exercise – Schedule time with your children to play together, exercise together, and prepare healthy food together. This teaches children to develop good habits for an active lifestyle and healthy food choices while aiding to the wellness and longevity of the entire family.
  • Be careful with time spent on TV and movies, but do so WITH your child – Let’s face it… most children love movies, television, and listening to music. Yes, we should limit the amount of time children spend watching TV, but we should also watch shows and listen to music with them. This will allow you to discuss some of the topics that are mentioned in today’s movies, TV shows and songs. You may even enjoy it!  Entertainment and media has changed drastically over the last thirty to forty years so it’s important that we stay aware of our children’s influences.
  • Find moments to show love and affection – The most important thing you can show your child is love and affection. A smile, a gentle rub on the back, or a big hug can mean the world to a child and turn a stressful day into a relaxing evening at home. Studies show that adults are more content with their lives when they are given genuine and healthy love and affection as children. Make sure you take time to hug your children and tell them how much you love them!

Childhood memories last a lifetime and childhood influences are the blueprint for the lives our children will lead as adults. As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, let us also reflect on ways that we can incorporate quality father time into the lives of our children and families to create a better tomorrow for everyone!

Happy Father’s Day!


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