Dad Play




The Power of Fathering:

When your husband hoists your laughing toddler onto his shoulders and marches around, you may want to yell “Stop!”—but think twice before you spoil the fun. “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. “Once you recognize that your husband’s very different parenting style is benefi cial, you may be more comfortable with it.”

Moms: Let It Be

“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 this happening more often. Your bonus: You’ll have time for a nap, a bath or even a pedicure!