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Dads are important to a child's development. Sometimes they need encouragement to be involved with their child. But there are rewards for being a more conscious parent.

First-time dads may need some encouragement to build their confidence to get hands-on with their newborn. Just like any new experience, practice helps us to build skills and confidence.

Dads are important

‘Dad champion’ Dave Owens writes that a father who is positively involved with the birth helps their child become a socially well-adjusted person, which means better cognitive, behavioural, social and psychological outcomes for the child. Dad is more likely to stay in a caring relationship with that child throughout their life.

Ask:

  • Was dad at baby’s birth?
  • How involved did dad feel?
  • When you look back at the birth, what were you pleased with?
  • What would you like to have done differently at the birth?

Dads help build better resilience

Research also suggests that children who have a positive and highly involved father tend to develop better problem-solving skills, keep on trying when faced with new challenges, cope better with everyday frustrations, have greater tolerance for stress and are better able to wait their turn for an adult’s attention.

Ask:

  • How involved do you think your own dad was in your early day-to-day care routines?
  • What opportunities do you have to care for baby?
  • What do you like to do with baby?
  • What have you taken into your own parenting, from the way you were fathered?

Becoming a more conscious parent

Encouraging dads to think and talk about what they would like for their children can help them become more conscious parents. It helps them see how their own behaviour influences their kids.

  • What do you know about child development?
  • What do you find hard about being a dad?
  • How does a son learn about being an adult?
  • What are your thoughts on the relationships between dads and sons – and dads and daughters?
  • If your baby could talk, how do you think they would answer this question: ‘How do you know your dad loves you?’

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Homai ngā mea hei tākaro māku – Give me things to play with

Six things children need – Te ārahi me te māramatanga – Guidance and understanding

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