As a doting father, it is natural for you to want to nurture a healthy bond with your children. According to sociologist David Popenoe, children who spend regular quality time with their fathers have better social prospects, educational performance, and psychological wellbeing than children who do not share a strong bond with their fathers.
Engaging in your kids’ activities at home is one of the best ways to interact with them – children are highly sensitive and intuitive. When you get involved in their favorite activities they will sense that they hold an important place in your life, and open up to you.
Positive interaction not only depends on your attitude towards the kids’ activities at home, but also on how age-appropriate they are. Your children will be a whole lot more enthusiastic and excited if the games or exercises you teach them are relevant to their ages.
Let’s Get Active
According to a research study conducted by Gustafson and Rhodes (2006), most children like to be physically active. However, parental support plays a key role in determining whether your child will sustain his or her interest in a particular activity.
Maintaining a playful, supportive and active style of parenting will not only strengthen your bond with your child, but will also encourage your child to engage in healthy activities.
- Play a fun game of football or baseball.
- Install a basketball hoop in your front or back yard and shoot some hoops.
- Teach your child how to ride a bicycle.
- Go hiking, rock climbing or trekking and explore new places. Make the trip exciting, adventurous and educational.
- Remember Twister? You might not be as flexible as you were back in your youth, but this game is guaranteed to be a hit with the kids.
- Do you children like to dance? Make a playlist of their favorite songs and teach them some fun dance moves.
- Children have very active imaginations and are always coming up with new games or activities. They will love it if you participate in their games as enthusiastically as they do.
- Involve your children in household chores such as drying the dishes after dinner, cleaning the backyard, and putting the toys back in place at the end of the day. This is a positive way of inculcating a sense of responsibility and accountability in your child.
Getting Involved As They Grow Up
As your children grow up they will get involved in school based activities, extra-curricular engagements depending upon their preferences, and find new hobbies. Make sure that they know you are available if they ever need assistance. Your active support and guidance will give their self-confidence and self-esteem a healthy boost.
- Help your child with homework and other school-related projects. Don’t be overbearing and pushy with your advice. Offer your opinion but encourage your child to come up with his or her own solutions.
- You are busy with work and the kids tend to get caught up in school related engagements. The solution: wake up early and prepare breakfast with them. This early morning bonding before the day kicks off will set a positive mood for both you and your children.
- Encourage your children to pursue the extra-curricular activities that appeal to them. Drive them to football practice, ballet recitals, dance class, or swimming sessions and be their most loyal and animated supporter.
- Be a counselor, friend, adviser, and inspirational figure to them when they are disappointed about academic or extra-curricular failures. Use this as an opportunity to help them identify their weaknesses and come up with creative ways to strengthen these problem areas.
Stay Connected With Your Children
Engaging in kids activities at home helps you to understand your child’s temperament, unique qualities, aspirations and fears. In return, your child will know that his or her father will always be there for support, guidance and love.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a healthy father-child bond ‘fosters psychological well-being and self-worth in children.’
Relationships need to be nurtured with love and patience, and the bond between you and your child deserves all the time and dedication in the world. So take out the time to interact with your children and let them know just how much you care for them.