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Father knows best

OK this one’s for all the Dads out there! You play a vital role in your child’s development, health and well-being. But I am guessing you didn’t know how. Here are the facts:

Children who have regular contact with their father are better social-emotional and academic functioning. Those children experience few behavioral problems and higher reading achievements.

Fathers that are supportive and involved contribute to a child’s cognitive, giving the child a positive sense of well-being and self-esteem. It has also been known to lower rates of depression.

You influence positive future relationships and help children find the right person to love and what qualities to look for!

Naturally, boys will model their father’s behavior. They will show them what type of father they need to be.

Preschool-aged children are more prepared for Kindergarten.

Academically, girls who have positive relationships do better in math, whereas, boys perform better on achievement tests. Children are more likely to graduate, achieve higher career levels and economic success.

Fathers that are more engaged have children that are more immune to alcohol and drug abuse.

A father’s linguistic interactions with children at an early age enhances his child’s language development.

Children without a positive father figure become at-risk to many different factors:

The child’s risk of poverty is four times greater.

Girls are seven times more like to become a pregnant teen.

More likely to exhibit behavior problems, face abuse and neglect, go to prison, commit a crime and abuse drugs and alcohol.

It is two times more likely for a child to suffer from obesity or drop out of high school.

If you are looking for some fun, positive father/child moments, here are a few suggestions: Build a fort and let the ideas go wild, play board games, be a secret spy and sneak around the house, make a music video, build a robot, have a movie date or make dinner together. Go to www.familyshare.com for more great ideas.

I have to say, I am a lucky girl. I had the best father growing up, who is still there for me (even at the age of 30+). My husband is the best as well – from building derby cars to washing cattle, he does it all! I am honored to have both of them in life.

To all the fathers out there – continue to be great. YOUR kids need YOU!

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.