Traditionally, men don’t get as much time with their children as they’d like. A new study aims to help them figure out the best ways to spend it. Comparing activities on workdays, nonworkdays and parental bond, researchers have given dads the tools to hack their parenting time for maximum benefits.
Best Activities for Nonworkdays
Lots of single dads don’t have their kids during the week. They’re limited to every other weekend or less. Weekends are playtime for many families, which leads to some moms being frustrated their former partners get to play “the fun parent.”
Certainly, life isn’t fair, and this is one area where that’s true. However, there is now research to support spending weekends on playful activities. According to the study:
“On nonworkdays, father involvement in play predicted greater attachment security and involvement in caregiving was marginally associated with greater attachment security.”
What does that mean? Washing hair and brushing teeth did less to make kids feel closer to their dads than going to the park. That’s great news for dads who love spending playful time with their children.
That’s not a license to ignore the chores involved in parenting though, and it doesn’t mean play is always best. Something very interesting happens when you look at how dads spend their time with the kids on workdays.
Best Activities for Workdays
The results of this one really blew people’s minds, because it seems like such an odd result. If play is awesome, shouldn’t it always be awesome? Not according to the results of the study.
“On workdays, father involvement in caregiving was related to greater attachment security, whereas father involvement in play was related to less attachment security,” the study found.
So not only was caregiving more important than play on workdays, but focusing on fun activities and ignoring the practical side of parenting hurt fathers’ relationships with their children.
According to researcher Geoffrey Brown of the University of Georgia, the fathers who are closest with their kids invest more time in caregiving and in child-centered play, depending on the child’s needs at the moment. He said:
“Ultimately, fathers who engage in a variety of parenting behaviors and adjust their parenting to suit the demands and circumstances of each individual day are probably most likely to develop secure relationships with their children.”
What activities do you most enjoy with your kids? Which do you think bring you closer? Post below!