The statistics are clear; when fathers are involved in their children's lives, the children are healthier, do better in school, and learn more. Take a look at some of these statistics:
Preschoolers with actively involved fathers have stronger verbal skills.
Radin, N., 1982, "Primary Caregiving and Role-Sharing Fathers," in Non- Traditional Families: Parenting and Child Development, edited by M. Lamb, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 173-204.
Children with actively involved fathers display less behavior problems in school.
Amato, P.R., and Rivera, F., 1999, "Paternal Involvement and Children's Behavior Problems," Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 375-384.
When non-custodial fathers are highly involved with their children's learning, the children are more likely to get A’s at all grade levels.
National Center for Education Statistics. October 1997. Fathers' Involvement in Their Children's Schools; National Household Education Survey. NCES 98-091R2. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.
Even fathers who are divorced and don't live with their children but maintain an active part in their life can have a positive and lasting effect on their kids. The key message is that whether you are a traditional dad (married and live in the same home with your kids), stepdad, or single non-custodial dad - the most important thing you can do with your kids is to spend time with them.
With that in mind, this week's blog focuses on 10 fun activities that dads can do with their children:
1. Plan a picnic. Most kids love to be outside during Spring and Summer, so instead of dinner around the table, pack some finger friendly foods and take dinner to the park. Your kids are sure to love spending time with their dad and enjoying an unconventional dinner!
2. Take each of your kids "on a date". Your children will cherish one-on-one time! Set aside some time specifically for a "date" with each of your children individually. Allow them to choose the activity, and go make some memories.
3. Visit a museum. Does your city have a children's museum? A science museum? Exploring museums are a fun way to learn history and science, and will really engage your kids in some great conversation.
4. Fly a kite. What kid doesn't like to fly a kite? It's one of those simple activities that you may not think about, but will be a big hit with your children.
5. Geocaching. Geocaching isn't new, but you may not have heard of it. It's a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. A great place to learn about and find a geocaching map in your area is
6. Weekend breakfast. Get up on Saturday morning and take the kids to breakfast. Indulge in chocolate chip pancakes or some other fun breakfast foods that seem like a decadent treat for your kids.
7. Paint your own pottery. Your artsy kids will love this activity! There are shops you can go to pick out your own pottery - maybe a coffee mug, bowl, vase, or whatever. You can sit down and paint your pottery, then the shop will fire it for you, then you take it home and use it. Hint: this makes a great "date" activity with your kids!
8. Build a fort. I'm sure as a dad you've build plenty of forts when you were a kid. Just in case you've forgotten how fun it is, you can use tables, blankets and big cardboard boxes. Let your child's imagination be your guide and embark on some exciting adventures.
9. Go roller skating. Roller skating was a hot activity when we were kids, and there are still some roller rinks around. Maybe your kids have never even been on roller skates, but chances are they'll love it!
10. Make a photo scrapbook. Use a digital camera to capture your child's favorite things, whether around the house, or around your neighborhood and city. Take pictures of meaningful things in their lives, then print them out and place them in a dated scrapbook. Don't forget to take photos of each other and photos of you together!
Hopefully these ideas help you figure out some fun ways to spend time with your children this week. In the end, your children won't remember how much money you spent on them, but they will remember the happy memories you made with them.
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