Fathers of infants and young children have a lot going on. Every day is filled with joy and new challenges. Sometimes the mere act of making sure your child survives from minute to minute can seem overwhelming. Just surviving the adventure of getting to the grocery store can feel like a win! Did you know that another win can be reading to your child?
Resident fathers who more frequently read books, tell stories, and play building toys with their children have higher cognitive ability at age two? Just the act of talking to your child and playing with them can have a positive impact on their future. It’s never too early to start!
Early on you can read sections of a newspaper out loud, or an article from your favorite magazine. Recount a story from your day – like that adventure of going to the grocery store. Not only will this help develop your child’s cognitive skills and language development, it’ll help get you into practice as your child begins to make their own story requests. PBS makes this recommendation, “Make sure to talk to your child, not just around them. Hold their hand, look them in the eye, and remember that you can’t be too expressive.”
Resources like PBS Parents BookFinder can help you find age appropriate books to read, and the Local Resources page of fatherhood.gov can help you find a local library so you can check out what books you like best.
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
Resident fathers who more frequently read to, tell stories to, and play with building toys with their children have two-year-old children with higher cognitive ability on the Mental Development Index of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition.
Source: Shears, J., & Robinson, J. (2005). Fathering attitudes and practices: Influences on children’s development. Child Care in Practice, 11(1), 63-79. Taken from NRFC Research Review: Resident Fathers and Child Development.
Make sure to talk to your child, not just around them. Hold their hand, look them in the eye, and remember that you can’t be too expressive.