When your husband hoists your laughing toddler onto his shoulders and marches around, you might have the urge to yell, “Stop!” But you might want to think twice before spoiling the fun: All that horsing around is a big part of dad baby bonding.
Play and dad baby bonding
“Toddlers are particularly hungry for this kind of play with their fathers,” says Kyle D. Pruett, M.D., a clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and author of Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. “And research shows that involvement with fathers leads to better outcomes in school and social development.”
Why are running, tumbling, wrestling and climbing with Daddy heaven on earth for tots? “A father’s interaction usually supports a child’s autonomy,” says Pruett. And once you recognize that your husband’s very different parenting style is actually beneficial, you may be more comfortable with it.
Fostering more dad baby bonding
“It’s a wise mother who lets the father have time with the toddler, or insists they have time together,” says Pruett. Encourage them to go to the park or be at home together without micromanaging their experience. Once you see that they both come back alive, you’ll feel happier about letting it happen more often. Plus, you’ll get time for a much-needed break, which could help your marriage after baby stay healthy.