Dads and parents building a healthy relationship with their child is the most important thing they can do in their child’s life.
When a dad has a healthy relationship with their child, it helps children to develop in healthy ways and have more positive outcomes in their life. It also means a dad feel more confident and effective as a parent and is motivated to become even more involved in their child’s life1.
The first step towards creating this healthy relationship is for dads to develop a bond with their child.
Here are three ways dads can bond with their child:
- Spending one on one time with their child
- Being available to their child
- Taking responsibility for their child’s needs.
Set aside time to try the three different ways and allow it to happen in different settings and times of the day. For example, at home during the day, after school pick-up, while driving in the car, when playing in the park, or at bedtime. Find out what feels right for dad and his family.
More detail about the three ways dads can bond with their child is provided below.
1. Dads spending time with their child
Dad is there physically and emotionally for their child, and at the same time, dad and their child are interacting and learning from each other.
- Playing games
- Reading books
- Talking about the day
- Having tummy time with their baby
- Helping their child at bath time.
2. Being available to their child
Dad is in the same room as their child and always available for interaction, but not necessarily face-to-face.
- Sitting next to their child as they play a game
- Driving in the car home from school
- Eating dinner together
- Letting their child know when they step out of the room
- Just watching their child play.
3. Taking responsibility for their child’s needs
Dad makes sure their child is taken care of and has everything they need. Dad starts conversations about their child’s needs and plans ahead.
- Arranging childcare
- Making appointments and putting them in the family calendar
- Starting a discussion about toilet training with their toddler
- Making a reward chart for their child’s positive behaviour
- Helping their child decide on what books to borrow at the library.
- (2007) The Effects of Father Involvement. Canada: Father Involvement Initiative.