Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Guest Post: Want the Best? Be a Dad.


Photo Credit
We are excited to share Von Jessee's excellent post on Fatherhood written exclusively for Help Me Grow Utah! Von is a Program Specialist at Help Me Grow's National Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

This blog post is for the men (…but, women, you should probably read this too). Just like mothers, grandparents, and teachers, fathers want what is best for their children. That is why we work to support a household in all different kinds of ways. These activities are critical to provide a comfortable environment so that children can play, learn, and grow, but there is more that children need from us. As researchers learn more about children and how they develop, they have discovered that fathers help their children in different ways than mothers.

 Children who spend more time with their fathers know more words when they enter preschool, have better behavior in elementary school, and are more likely to have a steady job as adults. Who doesn’t want all of those things for their children? This is most likely to happen when you, the father, are involved. We hear the term ‘involved’ a lot when it comes to fathers. But what does it really mean?

Being An Involved Dad

Photo Credit

Being involved with your kids can mean a lot of things, and it should! Every kid and every dad is different and they all enjoy doing different things. One of the best things about children is that they learn through play. Pretend to be their favorite character from a movie and recreate a movie scene, or teach your kids to do something that you like and spend time pretending to do it (or really doing it if it is child safe). During this play, children will learn about themselves, you, and the world around them.  It’s also important to show up at school events, friends’ birthday parties, and really any place you can. True involvement may also mean trying out those fun things that come from your child’s imagination. When we allow our kids to explore their own interests and natural talents, we show them that we love who they are and want to be involved.

The Challenge

Photo Credit
We know that dads play a special and important role in their child’s life, but it is all a little easier said than done.  It can be challenging to play the same game, 500 times in a row on a Thursday evening after working all week. Attending a “parent day” at preschool requires taking time off of work to, in many cases, get covered with glue while being the only guy in the room. Fortunately, there are recently more organizations that are identifying important ways to make sure that there are activities for both mothers and fathers. As fathers, it is up to us to show up. Showing up at school tells a child that school is important. Going down the slide “one more time” tells a child that she is important. It's what's best for our kids, and who doesn’t want that?

Von Jesse supports National Help Me Grow and their affiliate network in their efforts to measure program implementation and impact. He earned his Master's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut where he conducted fatherhood specific research.

No comments:

Post a Comment