It’s a good thing that dads are different than moms—kids need them to be! In many families, moms might send a message that they know the “right” ways to do things with the children and may have taken over most of their care. But children need fathers’ styles, too, so be sure to carve out plenty of time with your offspring.
All children need to learn from their dads—about the world, how language works, how dad interacts with others, and how he accomplishes things.
Dads can build on their interests, skills, and personalities to help their children grow and learn. Here are some ideas of how to capitalize on your strengths. If you are:
- Physically active and love to roughhouse — do this everyday. Physical activity gets kids mentally and physically primed for learning. Follow physical activity with calmer activities such as building something, reading or
“talking” a book together, or playing a game.
- The analytical type — use your thinking and planning skills to make your child racecars and spaceships from boxes for pretend play, create a daily
“schedule” for your child to build reassuring routines. Schedule in plenty of free play and interactive play with a parent. Carefully plan any TV or movie watching so you can see how much of that passive activity is in your child’s
daily experience, and replace watching that exceeds an hour a day with more productive activities. Plan to have the TV off more than it is now.
- Technically‐minded — take lots of digital photos of your child during family activities, print the best, and make a storybook for each place you have gone together. Print or type some appropriate sentence descriptions under each picture, according to your child’s language level. Sit down with your child and review at least one of your custom books every day. You could also set up a great slideshow for your child with one of the digital picture frames on the market. This could be especially helpful to the youngster who doesn’t have a very large vocabulary yet. Take pictures of common or favorite items in his life.
- Musically inclined — have “jam” sessions with your child and put on a concert for the rest of the family. Make posters and props for your shows.
- Dramatic or funny — make plays together or practice stand‐up comedy or magic tricks. Get a kid‐friendly microphone. Videotape these great shows.
To boost language development, make lots of straightforward comments to your child, and resist the urge to ask a lot of questions. You are your son or daughter’s best male mentor. Make the most of your child’s early years—share your talents.
This article has been sent to GreatDad by Mary Lou B. Johnson , Speech-Language Pathologist and creator of www.HelpYourChildSpeak.com