Quality trumps quantity of time spent with fathers Kids crave dadication
FATHERS are spending more time with their young kids, but a new study shows the amount of time is irrelevant compared to the way time is spent.
In a study of more than 3000 Australian children aged four to eight, University of Queensland researchers Francisco Perales and Janeen Baxter examined how father-child time related to a youngster’s cognitive development.
The report, in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found it was the quality, not quantity, of time that was crucial.
“The total amount of father-child time is associated with, at best, small improvements in children’s cognitive functioning,’’ the report says. “In contrast, the amount of father-child time in educational activities is associated with moderate to large improvements.
“Such associations are similar for highly and less highly educated fathers.’’
The best activities to do with your kids were stimulating ones such as reading, playing games, doing homework, or participating in social events.
Over the past few decades in Western countries, there has been a rise in fathers’ in- volvement in childcare, the researchers said.
“In this emerging model of involved fatherhood, fathers are not only expected to act as income providers, but also to actively engage with the dayto-day caring and upbringing of their children,” the authors wrote.
Brisbane dad Guy Clothier said it was “extremely important” to spend quality time with the kids, as well as dedicate time to them individually.
“For me, family time is everything,” he said.
“I can look back on my relationship with my father. He’s passed away now, but just looking back, you never get that time back and it’s just so important to spend time with the children.
“As well as together time, individual time with each child is very important so they can be their own person.”
Mr Clothier said he tried to switch his kids from screen time to outdoors.
“Really getting out and doing stuff with the kids is just so important, even if it’s just a Sunday drive up to the mountains and just listening to them say a thousand times, ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet?’ ” he said. LEARNING CURVE: Guy Clothier with children Margot, 4, Nina, 6, and Arthur, 18 months. Picture: AAP/John Gass