In celebration of Father’s Day, I wanted to share with you some of the most important lesssons my dad passed on to me, which is a more fun way of saying that there are many important ways that fathers support their children's development A father’s role is so central to their child’s development that it is difficult to mention all the ways that daddies help their children grow and learn. So, I will just talk about 5 ways my dad supported me as a child. As an adult, I know that his lessons supported my growth and development, but as a child, they were just fun!
Rough and tumble play: I remember my dad making me fly like “superman”. This simple activity supported language development by pairing words with actions, motor development by helping develop my balance reactions, sensory development through movement, and social development through interaction. Most of all, it taught me that I did not have to be a boy to feel like a super hero!
Bedtime stories: I remember my father’s voice as he melodically read all my favorite stories. He exaggerated the characters' voices and added excitement to each story. I learned the names of the pictures, places, and objects in the books. I learned that you read left to right and that you turn the pages one at a time. I learned how to sit still and pay attention (most of the time). The greatest lesson of all was that I was free to go on adventures knowing that I always have a safe spot to return.
Family dinners: I remember sit around the table with my dad, mom, and siblings just about every night. My dad worked full time, running his own business and being head of our family. However, he set aside time every night for a family dinner. Some of my favorite times were spent sitting around the table. I learned to try a variety of foods and textures, eat with utensils, and to carry on conversations.
Fishing: From as early as I can remember, my dad took me fishing. Whether it was in a boat or off a bank, we would cast our lines into the water and I would reel in life’s lessons. I learned water safety, respect for animals, and had a host of sensory experiences. My fine motor skills were developed as I casted the line and baited the hook. He modeled patience as time and again he had to help me get “unstuck” from a tree, bush, or bank. Mostly, it did not matter if we caught any fish, Dad shared his interests and traditions with me.
Time: Most importantly, my father supported my development by sharing his time with me. In the hustle and bustle of daily, time is the most valuable resource that a father can share with his child. Play, stories, daily routines, or shared interests all support all areas of child’s development.
As Father’s Day approaches, I would like to send a special thank you to all the dads out there! Remember, we are here to help you if you have concerns about your child’s development! Remember, Babies Can’t Wait! Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB: http://www.racsb.state.va.us/