Across Europe there has been a wave of parenting initiatives to encourage more men to take shared parental leave. However, it is estimated that in the UK approximately only 2% are taking up this opportunity after the birth of their newborn. This is despite compelling evidence which reiterates the hugely important role fathers can play in the wellbeing and development of their baby.
Everyone is aware of the important role fathers can play in supporting their partners by sharing the night shift or doing the school run. However, a father’s role in a child’s development goes way beyond these day-to-day tasks. In this blog post we’ll reveal some of the special ways fathers can positively impact on their child’s development and offer tips on some useful tools new dads might need, so they can relax and enjoy being a father.
The power of dad’s voice
Did you know that the male voice travels further than the female voice? This means that a baby has more chance of hearing their father’s voice in the womb – and could even recognise their father’s voice when they’re born. This relationship, even starting before birth, can be crucial to a baby’s development and scientific studies have shown that there can even be a correlation between a father’s communication and improved language skills in later life. So dads out there: when it comes to parenting, get chatting with your baby, even before birth!
Fatherhood and intelligence
Past research studies have also shown that an active male figure from birth could produce better performance in cognitive tests by the age of two. Whether it’s reading a bedtime story or playing games, the more time dad can spend with baby, the better!
Confident parenting breeds happiness
In addition to intelligence and IQ, hands-on fathers can also have a tangible impact on their child’s happiness. A study by the University of Oxford has shown that confident fathers have happier children. The researchers stated “how new fathers see themselves as parents, how they value their role as a parent and how they adjust to this new role, rather than the amount of direct involvement in childcare in this period, appears to be associated with positive behavioural outcomes in children.”
Key to confidence: the perfect parenting tools
Given the tangible benefits of being a confident father – how can new dads feel confident when tackling parenting for the first time?
Although it might seem simple, having the right tools to hand when spending 1:1 time with a new-born can minimise stress, ensuring dads can focus on the important quality time needed with their baby. Top items dads might need when looking after their baby for the first time are:
- Bottles, milk (or formula) and sterilisers for feeding
- Nappies and wet wipes, to keep baby squeaky clean!
- A baby monitor for when your little one takes a nap
- Baby toys and soothers, to help dry any tears
- A first aid kit, including a digital thermometer
For super savvy dads, tech gadgets like Braun’s range of digital thermometers can really help to make life easier. The Braun ThermoScan® 7 with Age Precision® takes the guesswork out of temperature interpretation and the Braun No touch + forehead thermometer is ideal for taking temperatures when the child is sleeping.
For further information, there are great resources out there to work out exactly what you need for your new arrival. Midwife Christina Altman recently offered some fantastic top tips on shopping for your new baby or why not print out this ultimate checklist to make sure you have all the essentials you need.
Equipped with the perfect parenting tools, dads can relax and concentrate on being the best father they can be… with all the benefits that brings for both father and baby.