Research suggests father-child play at an early age could benefit children as they get older.

Research carried out by Cambridge University’s faculty of education and the LEGO Foundation looked at how mothers and fathers play with children aged 0 to 3 years and how it affects child development. 

The study found that fathers spend a large proportion of their time with their children engaging in play, often in the form of physical play such as rough and tumble. Fathers’ play frequency increases from infancy and declines as children reach school age. The study found that early father-infant play is linked to positive social, emotional and cognitive outcomes stating that:

“…fathers’ play in the early years can positively contribute to children’s social, emotional and cognitive outcomes. This potential for substantial benefit for children provides a clear imperative for policy makers and practitioners to facilitate and support fathers, as well as mothers, in developing more positive and playful interactions with their infants.”

Original research:

Father-child play: A systematic review of its frequency, characteristics and potential impact on children’s development

Published by Annabel Amodia-Bidakowska, Ciara Laverty and Paul G Ramchandani (PEDAL Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK andThe Lego Foundation, Højmarksvej 8, 7190 Billund, Denmark)

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