Men are more “rough and tumble” with their toddlers and children, and encourage more risk-taking behaviour. “They also use a very different vocabulary with their children, often using complicated words where mothers tend to adjust their language down. This helps to broaden the child’s vocabulary,” adds Hans.
Babies who have benefited from paternal interactions from an early age get on better with their peers,they’re academically more successful, stay in school longer, use drugs and alcohol less frequently and are less likely to get involved with crime. They may also be better equipped socially and psychologically than infants who receive very little attention from their fathers.
So why don’t more dads bond with their babies? Unfortunately, some are simply inclined to take an “it’s cute – but what does it do?” attitude to their children when they’re at such an early stage in their development. For many other men, work pressures or time constraints mean they just don’t get the same opportunities to interact with their new son or daughter.
At first sight, it may appear to fathers that there is little interaction possible with a newborn baby, but by being attentive to the small details and nuances, dads can get a lot of satisfaction and benefit from communicating and caring for the baby. Time spent with the baby in the early weeks and months should provide a positive foundation for the developing relationship as the child grows, making fatherhood more rewarding and enjoyable.
We’ve gathered a few fun ways for him to spend time with his little one.
Be a Part of the Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime schedule is very important to helping your baby sleep through the night. Choose a part of the routine you want to be involved in like bathtime. This will help baby understand that when Dad says its bathtime, it’s will be bedtime soon too.
Daddy Dance Party
Babies love music and they love to dance. Even when your baby is just a few months old you can start having dance parties. Turn on some music (or sing a special song) then sway around the room with baby. As your baby gets older you can help her stand and dance (a.k.a. bounce) till she is able to groove to her own moves.
Take the Night Shift
Give mom the chance to catch some extra zzz’s and become the “rescuer of the night” when baby cries. This will give you and baby precious alone time. Pro tip: Be sure to have a few bottles in the fridge for late-night feedings.
Take Him for a Walk
Babies love fresh air, so take your little bundle for a stroll around the block. Try using a sling or carrier instead of your stroller. This will keep baby close to you throughout the walk. Just be sure baby is slathered in sunscreen if it’s hot outside and bundled up if it’s a little chilly.
Try a Baby Massage
Babies respond to touch, and a simple way to soothe and relax them is with a baby massage. When your baby is quiet and happy (you won’t want to try it on a fussy baby) take 10 to 15 minutes to gently rub her legs, belly, arms, and neck.