Study Finds the Importance of Nightly Bedtime Stories with Dad

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A common concern amongst single dads is finding ways to be a part of their children’s lives in a meaningful way during non-parenting time. This is especially challenging for military dads, who find themselves deployed overseas for long periods of time; it can be distressing for them to feel like they’re not as active in the lives of their children as they’d like. A study about regular storytime may hold part of the answer, and inspire some creative ways to allay this concern.


A recent article by Motherly highlighted a poignant study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.  According to the study, dads who regularly read to their children saw an increase in their good behavior, as well as a refinement in their own parenting skills. Additionally, they found that being regularly read to by their fathers increased learning-readiness for children, and boosted their vocabularies.

The study assessed a total of 126 dads enrolled in a program called Fathers Supporting Success in Preschoolers, which promotes more father-child story time. The control group was waitlisted so the research team could closely monitor the difference between the families reading together regularly, and those who weren’t.

The researchers found that, amongst fathers who began regularly reading bedtime stories, praise and affection towards their kids increased after story time, while critical statements towards their children declined. That is to say, regular reading strengthened the overall bond between father and child, improving the overall relationship. Additionally, the improved interaction between the fathers and their children resulted in better behavior amongst the children. They found that overall interactions were more productive, and less tense.

On top of all of the behavioral changes, researchers found a significant improvement in language development among the children receiving regular stories from their fathers. The research team concluded that this time spent together strengthened the parent-child bond, and provided an overall benefit to both dads and kids.
How can single fathers take advantage of this? The good news is, you don’t have to be physically with your children to read them a bedtime story. There are live options, such as FaceTime and Skype, or, you can pre-record videos of you reading your child’s favorite books, for them to watch while you’re apart (especially good for deployed dads who may be dealing with huge time zone differences). You can read the study in its entirety here.

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1 thought on “Study Finds the Importance of Nightly Bedtime Stories with Dad

  1. I have Joint Custody with an 11 year old daughter. We’re on the phone practically everyday, we watch Youtube videos, Reacticorns, Azzyland, Dope or Nope, read Bible Stories on the internet. We synch our URL’s while on the phone, when one of us gets an Ad we pause and wait for other by telling where we’re pause minutes and seconds, then count down. Example, if I say i’m at 3:05 she’s count 2:48 till she reaches 3:05 and I press play. This is our Quality Time while she waits for the next time we’re together. I have other holidays, school days, court ordered Tues and Weds. Sometimes we can’t spend a day on the phone because I go out dancing, she’s OK with it. She knows I use to teach but rather devote my time to her. We text before she goes to school and after school. Texts me all weekend long including our 2 hours on the phone. While with her mom she rather text me. Yep once the school counselor told me her mom wishes she had a bond like ours, I told him, “it has to be earned” Driving in traffic at night I drive behind a semi truck and do shadow puppets on the back. She loves it, that got her hooked on silent movies.

    Bitmoji’s are hilarious, daughter and I love those.

    i Like, OLE!

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