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Posted November 16, 2011 by Jason in Featured-1
 
 

New Studies Find Horseplay with Dads Vital to Kid Development

If your relationship with your kids is like mine, you, the dad, are the one doing the majority of throwing-kids-around play; you’re the one that romps and jumps with them. My wife loves it, except at bedtime, when she gets irritated if I “rile them up.” Now, I have something to remind her that what I’m doing is actually good for them! A group of Australian researchers report that horseplaying with dad is crucial to a child’s early development. The leader of the Fathers and Families Research Program at Australia’s Univeristy of Newcastle, Richard Fletcher, told ABC News, “We know quite a lot about how important fathers are in general for a child’s development. Over the last decade, for example, that it’s mainly mother that interacts with children and that’s how they develop, and that’s the important bit, that’s changed. We know fathers are important.”

The researchers filmed 30 dads while they played roughhousing games with their children.  The most common game was having the child try to remove Dad’s sock. The films were then reviewed to see how the children reacted to the game.

“Rough and tumble play between fathers and their young children is part of their development, shaping their children’s brain so that their children develop the ability to manage emotions and thinking and physical action altogether,” said Fletcher. “This is a key developmental stage for children in that preschool area between the ages of about two and a half and five. That’s when children learn to put all those things together.”

The results of the study show that while boys are more likely to iniate such games, the effects of the play time is equal for both boys and girls, and just as important for both genders.

“Rough and tumble play between fathers and their young children is part of their development, shaping their children’s brain so that their children develop the ability to manage emotions and thinking and physical action altogether,” said Fletcher. “This is a key developmental stage for children in that preschool area between the ages of about two and a half and five. That’s when children learn to put all those things together.”

But for the children involved, it is much more important that just play.

“When you look at fathers and their young children playing, you can see that for the child, it’s not just a game. They obviously enjoy it and they’re giggling, we know that’s true, but when you watch the video, you can see that child is concentrating really hard … I think the excitement is related to the achievement that’s involved,” Fletcher told ABC News. “It’s not about a spoiled child not wanting to lose, I think that child is really striving for the achievement of succeeding.”


Jason

 
I am a 30-something father of four lovable heathens, avid gamer, technophile, science geek, caveman, and grill addict. Sometimes I have funny stuff to say so I write it down, and I'm lucky enough to make my living doing it.