I think there is a link between play, bonding, educating and development both for the child and the father.
A study by the parenting charity NCT showed that extra responsibilities, changes in relationships and lifestyle, and the inevitable sleep deprivation are among the factors that can impact on men’s mental health. An article by the Guardian Two in five new dads concerned about mental health problems expanded on this by including a case study.
I think there is a link between play, bonding, educating and development both for the child and the father. Play has been defined as “Apparently purposeless activity that’s fun to do.” by Stuart Brown. If you can put aside 26 minutes, this talk by Brown, which takes a biological approach to play, has some compelling evidence.
Brown states near the end of the video, “If its purpose is more important than the act of doing it, it’s probably not play”. This is important as I’m a firm believer in learning through play so I like my play with the kids to have a goal. Let’s play catch because that will improve hand eye coordination, lets play tag to get exercise or play LEGO to improve creativity etc. Brown argues to the contrary. Role play or goofing around. Rolling down hills, play fighting putting on an improvised show from behind the curtains are things that come naturally to me. But for others, who have demanding jobs and spend the weekend recovering, my advice would be to make time for it. It will be difficult making the change in the beginning but it will get easier and you always find the energy, somewhere.
But all this entertaining and pushing children’s imaginations created a dilemma for me. If you are the Father that plays like this how can children take you seriously when it comes to chastising them or punishing them for being naughty. I asked my friend and original Super Nanny, Jo Frost
This is what she said
@D4NMOLLOY I'm glad you are! You change yr tone,eye contact so they know your serious when u follow through with a warning.#askjofrost
— Jo Frost (@Jo_Frost) July 24, 2015
Play releases endorphins, it is vital for keeping brains flexible enough to be able to deal with the challenges that family and work and life can throw at you. For an excellent article on endorphins, check out this page by my friend Zoey at BabbleOut.
But it’s not just you that benefits, a study at the University Of Newcastle showed that children who spend large amounts of time with their fathers have a higher IQ
So my advice to you, when adjusting to the change in your life that occurs when you become a father, is to unlock your child’s and your own potential through play. I’ll follow this post with many other posts on a similar theme so follow me on twitter. Embrace and play, be a smart Dad!