Even-tempered and actively engaged fathers raise the brightest babies, a new study suggests.
“The clear message for new fathers here is to get stuck in and play with your baby,” said study author Paul Ramchandani of Imperial College London.
“Even when they're really young playing and interacting with them can have a positive effect.”
Researchers analyzed interactions between 128 fathers and their three-month-old babies, measuring the infants’ cognitive development along the way. They also took video of the fathers playing with their children and observed them during reading sessions when the children reached the age of two – at which time they used a standard mental development index (MDI) that involves tasks like recognizing colors and shapes to score the children’s development.
It’s here that they found a positive relationship between the amount of quality time fathers spent with their babies and the children’s scores. The findings also suggested that fathers with more positive outlooks and less anxious attitudes are more likely to have tots who perform better on the MDI scales.
“For those fathers who are more engaged it may be that there is a lot more positive stuff going on in their lives generally,” said Ramchandani.
“That might be the reason for the link, but we can't be sure of that. All we can say is that there is a signal here, and it seems to be an important one.
“The clear message for new fathers here is to get stuck in and play with your baby... Even when they're really young playing and interacting with them can have a positive effect.”
It should be noted that the study did have some limitations, chief of which was the fact that participating parents were all relatively well educated.
That said, you probably shouldn’t need a study – no matter its limitations – to convince you to be a non-shitty dad.
h/t The Independent