Fatherhood has evolved tremendously from the days when fathers hunted and gathered food for their families, or even the times of the Industrial Revolution when fathers often worked exceedingly long, inflexible hours, and their primary goal was to be the main breadwinner. With the 21st century has come many changes and challenges to our traditional gender roles and stereotypes of moms and dads.
Worldwide we can see that fathers are choosing to change their roles. Whether it’s their involvement in their child’s PTA, father- daughter/ father- son days out or paternity leave…we are seeing changes. Parents of today are challenging gender roles in the office, in the community and in homes. Parental duties are being split based on the needs of the household and not solely along traditional lines.
Fathers are becoming more involved in the day-to-day lives of their children. Work-life balance is no longer only a chat happening amongst busy mothers. It is now a conversation for both parents during this 21st century. Fathers are more conscious of the importance of being a constant presence in their child’s life.
With the fast paced everyday life of a busy working father, it’s sometime easy for him to forget how important it is to take time to play with his children. Playing with your child, whether they are 4 years old or 14 years old can yield amazing results. It has the potential to build and strengthen your relationship, provide avenues for learning, build their self-esteem and self- concept and not to mention be a great stress reliever for dads!
So dads, don’t forget to set aside time regularly to play with your children. When you take the time to do this, you will certainly see the positive impact all around!
Here are my top 5 tips to incorporate into play time with your children!
1. Allow your child to lead – Allow your child to take the lead when it comes to play. Whether it’s a game of football on the beach with your teenager or baking easy bake muffins with your five-year-old, base your father/child play on their interest.
2. Use play to help build self-confidence – Who better to build a child’s self confidence than a dad during play time? Your time, care and interaction with your child will work wonders on their self-confidence.
3. Find a hobby – Whether it’s Lego building, snorkeling, or playing a sport, sharing a hobby with your child can give you a way to connect with your child on a regular basis.
4. Remember that it’s about fun – It’s easy to fall into a pattern of using play time for ‘teachable moments’ or discipline. Remember that your goal of play should be to have fun with your child. Choose activities with them that will allow you to do this.
5. Unplug – With smart phones and tablets attached to many individuals at the hip, try your best to set aside some time where you can truly unplug and enjoy some good old fashion play!
This article was originally printed in the Sprint 2016 Eddition of Turks and Caicos Parents. The digital version of this issue can be found on their website. www.tciparents.com