Playing with dad may benefit kids' emotional control

Playing with dad may benefit kids' emotional control

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The review by the University of Cambridge and the LEGO Foundation analyzed almost 80 studies from between 1977 and 2017 exploring how dads play with babies and toddlers, how this play differs from play with moms, and the potential impact on childhood development.

They found that dads tend to engage in more physical, rough-and-tumble-style play than moms, and that children who enjoyed more high-quality playtime with their fathers between the ages of 0 and 3 exhibited less hyperactivity and fewer emotional and behavioral problems as they grew than children who got little or no playtime with their dads.

The findings don't mean that playtime with moms isn't important and beneficial too. Play in general is critical for young children's development, and, whether it's with mom or dad, playtime helps children learn physical and social skills, creativity, independence, curiosity, and problem- solving.

Fathers' inclination toward more physical types of play such as tickling, chasing, and piggy-back rides may be especially suitable for developing emotion regulation, the researchers said.

"Physical play creates fun, exciting situations in which children have to apply self-regulation," said Paul Ramchandani, professor of play in education, development, and learning at the University of Cambridge, in a statement. "You might have to control your strength, learn when things have gone too far – or maybe your father steps on your toe by accident and you feel cross!

"It's a safe environment in which children can practice how to respond. If they react the wrong way, they might get told off, but it's not the end of the world – and next time they might remember to behave differently," he added.

But don't despair if you're a single mom or in a two-mom household. Moms can provide the playtime benefits normally associated with dads by incorporating physical-type activities when spending time with their young children, Ramchandani said.

"Part of being a parent is stepping outside your comfort zone," he noted. "Children are likely to benefit most if they are given different ways to play and interact."

For some physical and nonphysical activity ideas, check out these games to play with your toddler. Find more tips for expectant dads and fathers on our resource page, including how to bond with your baby.

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Watch the video: Using Failures, Movement u0026 Balance to Learn Faster. Huberman Lab Podcast #7 (June 2022).


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