A recent study from Imperial College, London, shows that babies who are engaged in quality time with their fathers score higher on the mental development index. Across 128 babies, the link between quality time and higher scores was strong, with test involving recognising and differentiating between colours and shapes. This quality time spans being sung to, played with or read to by active dads who are, overall, generally positive and have a calm demeanour.
So, what does this study mean for you and your baby?
Well, it’s important to note that this study was not holistic in that it did not delve beyond well-educated middle-class families, and so there is no concrete evidence that quality time with fathers does indeed lead to smarter babies. But that’s not to say dads should give up their play time with their little ones, because there are in fact so many other benefits for a child to grow up having spent balanced time with both mother and father. It’s all about quality, not quantity, of time spent with dads, and the benefits are diverse:
- Higher test scores on mental development index
- Better behaved children, who have a good role model to look up to
- More likely to achieve a higher level of education
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Children with a strong father-figure are less likely to be aggressive
From mental development to behaviour and personality, children thrive off a strong and caring relationship with their dads. So, go on, dad, read that extra book as you tuck your little one into bed at night, or play with the dolls a little bit longer!