There is no shortage of research on the benefits that dads bring to their little ones’ lives! Loving engagement from dads helps little ones to regulate their behaviour and gives emotional stability too.
In addition – the way that men (in general) play with their little ones is somewhat different from moms. These differences have great advantages for development:
Dads tend to have a different sensory threshold from moms and are more likely to be the sensory-seeking parent. In this way, they encourage more physical and sensory types of play
- Messy play – Messy faces and muddy feet faze most dads less than moms. This type of fabulous sensory experience builds body awareness and creativity.
- Movement thrills – Move your little one through the air like an airplane – in your strong arms, your toddler will delight in the vestibular stimulation.
- Touch exploration -Fill a large plastic shell with sand for a sandpit or even beans or jelly. This sensory pit will delight your little ones need to explore with the sense of touch.
Push physical boundaries
Dads tend to have less anxiety for their child’s safety and allow their toddlers to push boundaries more – climbing higher and going faster. This encourages little ones’ creativity as they experiment more and come up with more creative ideas in play.
There are few things better than to watch a dad play ‘pretend play’ – “Train driver” or “Builder-builder” or “Mommy-baby” play are wonderful ways that dad can assume a role they are not usually in. Get down on the floor with your toddler and play imaginary games – this encourages creativity as well as helps your baby and toddler to develop language and social skills.
Dad, whatever you do, play with your baby and toddler – the benefits are lifelong and won’t be the same as those that come from mom.
Disclaimer: In writing this article, I acknowledge that there are certain accepted gender stereotypes that are portrayed. Of course, the roles can be reversed and mom may well be the sensory-seeking, boundary-pushing, playful parent.