by Patrick Mitchell
Preschool children are much more competent, insightful, thoughtful, and curious than parents give them credit for, says Developmental Psychologist Michael Lamb, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Cambridge University and pre-eminent father involvement and child development researcher for a quarter of a century.
Lucky, though, is the child whose parents recognize their miraculous abilities and roll out the red carpet of skill-building opportunities for their preschool child. A father who gets involved and stays involved in his child’s life early on—from infancy and throughout the preschool years—is in a position to greatly influence how his child will do in the school years, said Lamb.
Some dads get really involved when their child is an infant, notes Dr. Lamb, while other dads wait until their child is a preschooler before really engaging them fully. In any case, once dads become fully involved, their child’s cognitive, social, and emotional lives are greatly enhanced.
Dads Dig Their Preschoolers
(And the Feeling is Mutual!)
“Historically, lots of fathers are uncertain about interaction and involvement with little babies, whereas they feel much more confident once the children reach the preschool age and older. For those fathers in particular, the preschool years offer a very inviting opportunity to get involved,” Lamb told THE DOWN TO EARTH DAD. “Preschool children are all naturally very inviting, they are eager, they’re curious, they’re verbal, they’re eager to get involved in physical play activities, which some fathers enjoy doing with them. For some fathers, the preschool years expand the type of relationship they already have with their kids, and for others it provides the entry point where they feel most comfortable really connecting with, and doing things with, their children,” Lamb said.
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This article originally appeared in The Down To Earth Dad™ monthly newsletter for parents, schools, and programs.