Here’s some news for dads – children whose fathers take time to play with them from a young age have more control over their behavior and emotions as they grow. This is the finding of a new study that evaluated how father-child interaction at a tender age affects a child’s mental development.
The team of researchers involved in this study drew from data from the past 40 years to understand how fathers’ playtime with their children affect the children’s mental growth. The review analyzed studies from 1977 to 2017 – most of them in Europe or North America. The researchers analyzed all pieces of information from how often fathers played with their children, to the nature of the play, and how the child improved mentally as he or she grew up.
The study team found that most fathers played with their children every day and fathers’ play tend to be more physical, including picking them up or raising their limbs for babies, and rough-and-tumble for toddlers. Across most of the studies reviewed, the researchers found that children who engaged in high-quality playtime with their dads were less likely to be hyperactive and less likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems.
The researchers suggest that physical activities, which largely dominate fathers’ play time, help children negotiate challenges and develop better control over their actions during playtime. This, they said, translates to better emotional and behavioral control when they grow up.