While diet and exercise are still important elements of a child’s development, numerous studies are pointing to another aspect: being social.
New research from Australian universities, combined with past findings from other studies, have found that people who are a member of a social group may experience a significant reduction in the risk of stroke, dementia and contracting the common cold later in life.
The study found benefits for people belonging to a different range of social groups as well as those who built new ones when dealing with various life changes.
Dr Catherine Haslam of the University of Exeter, one of the co-authors of the research, said this health strategy was cheaper than medication and offered "far fewer side effects, and is also much more enjoyable."
This may be good parenting advice for fathers who notice their child is a bit reserved when it comes to making friends. Children who have a group of friends to hang out with and share similar life experiences have been shown to develop in a more positive manner.
Fathers can foster this by arranging playdates for their younger children or by encouraging their older children to join a sports team or an after-school organization.