Home Family Early Childhood Why Kids with Involved Dads Do Better in School

Why Kids with Involved Dads Do Better in School

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“Is Dad just a playmate, or can he be a game-changer in a child’s education?” New research from the University of Leeds suggests that fathers play an extraordinary role in their children’s academic journey. The study, analyzing nearly 5,000 households in the U.K., sheds light on the often-overlooked impact of fathers on their children’s schooling.

The Dad Effect – More than Just Fun and Games

The University of Leeds’ report reveals that when fathers are actively involved in “structured, educational activities” like reading and drawing, their children perform better academically. Kids as young as three who regularly engage in learning activities with their dads show an educational advantage by age five. This trend continues, as seven-year-olds who interacted educationally with their fathers at age five perform better in national curriculum tests.

Why Dad’s Role is Different

You might ask, “Don’t moms do these activities too?” Absolutely, but the report points out two main reasons why dads have a unique impact.

Double the Support

Having both parents involved means children get a broader range of stimulation. Moms and dads often have different styles, languages, and interactions, making the learning environment richer.

Special Touch

While both parents are essential, fathers often have a style of interaction that brings distinct advantages to a child’s development. These differences can range from the language they use, the activities they choose, and even how they react to situations. Research suggests that fathers often engage in more physical play, encourage risk-taking, and explore the world in a way that is uniquely their own. This complements the typically more nurturing and cautionary style of mothers.

It’s almost as if mothers and fathers offer two different courses in the school of life, each teaching essential lessons that prepare the child for the diverse challenges they will face in the real world.

The significance of this “Special Touch” from fathers is further highlighted when it comes to education. The report indicated that kids with involved fathers tend to perform better in school, which is an important indicator of future success.

Moms Matter Too, but Differently

According to the report, mothers play a significant role in shaping a child’s behavior, which often includes emotional and social aspects.

Emotional and Conduct Development

Mothers often take the lead in nurturing the emotional intelligence of their children. This involves teaching them how to recognize their own feelings and those of others, how to express themselves in socially appropriate ways, and how to manage emotional reactions. The nurturing environment created by mothers often contributes to better conduct, reducing tendencies toward hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Social Skills and Peer Relationships

In addition to emotional and conduct development, mothers also help children in their social interactions. The report indicates that maternal involvement enhances peer socialization skills. Simply put, moms help kids play well with others. This is no small feat given that social skills are a key predictor of future success in both personal and professional spheres. Whether it’s navigating friendships or dealing with conflict, children often look to their mothers for cues on how to interact with the world around them.

Pro-Social Behavior

Moreover, mothers often instill values and behaviors that make for better community members and citizens. This is often labeled as pro-social behavior, which includes qualities like empathy, kindness, and the ability to work well in teams. These are skills that go beyond the classroom but are essential in almost all aspects of life.

What Can Dads Do?

It’s not just about being present; it’s about being actively involved. Here are some actionable steps for dads:

Share the Load: Both parents should be involved in routine as well as fun, educational activities. Sharing these tasks can significantly boost a child’s academic performance.

Quality Time: Make sure to dedicate regular, short spans of quality time for engaging activities with your child. Even 10 minutes can make a difference.

Be a ‘Learning Supporter’: Collaborate with your child’s other parent and the school to establish a cohesive educational environment.

Being a dad means more than just weekend outings and bedtime stories. As research shows, fathers have a unique and powerful role in shaping their children’s academic future. So the next time you pick up a book or a crayon, remember, you’re not just passing the time—you’re making a lasting impact.

Written by
Owen Johnson

Owen, a writer with a tech background, delves into the rapidly changing landscape of digital life. He writes about managing screen time, the educational potential of apps and video games.

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