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The Importance of Dads in the Early Years of a Childs life

Information about why dads are importantBrain Development  

Your child's brain grows faster between the beginning of pregnancy and 3 years of age than at any other stage in his or her life. This time is often referred to as the 'critical period' of development as it creates the foundation for longer-term positive outcomes and many believe that the neural pathways (learning connections) that are formed in the brain during this period are established for life. The development of your child's brain is determined by his or her daily experiences, with you and the world. Positive experiences from the earliest age support healthy brain development which then, supports future learning.

Find out more about why it is important for Dads to be involved in their child's life right from the start.

Providing a secure environment for children to develop

    • Dads' relationships with their children play a critical role in their child's capacity to regulate stress responses (e.g., stress hormone production) during the early years of life. A child who experiences a safe, secure and stable relationship with his or her father, is more likely to have a well regulated response to stress. for instance, when they are upset or frightened.
    • A dad parenting as part of a caring and respectful team with his partner (or other carers)automatically decreases the amount of stress experienced by children because the day to day parenting responsibilities are shared, and the child is more likely to experience a safe, secure and stable environment. Also, teamwork between parents allows each parent to more fully enjoy his or her time with the child, and potentially have more time, because the day to day challendges of parenting are reduced.

Nourishing children’s development

Breast milk is regarded as the ideal blend of nutritional elements for the baby's brain growth, physical development and immunity. The antibodies found in breast milk help develop the child’s immune system and can reduce the risk of allergies.

Research suggests that the opinion of the father is more important than the health professionals in determining whether a mother initiates and/or sustains breastfeeding (Fatherhood Institute, 2007). Mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding if their partner is unsupportive. Dads can use their influence by supporting their partners during the breastfeeding process, including if their partner and baby experience difficulties and require extra support and sometimes professional assistance.

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