A Father’s Role in Child Play

Fathers have two main responsibilities in children’s play.  The first is to ensure that children have the opportunity to play.

The second is to be involved.  Here are some thoughts about how a dad can play well.

Setting the Stage

Children need a place where they can play safely and freely, toys to play with and people to have fun with. They should also be
supervised by adults who make sure kids are safe, who monitor their behaviour and are ready to help when needed.

What Makes a Good Toy?

Toys should be safe, durable and suited to children’s abilities and interests at various ages. But really, a good toy is one that a child plays with a lot. Kids are attracted to the fancy toys they see on television, but many of the best toys are simple things like balls, building blocks, dolls, toy animals, cars and coloured markers – toys that can be used in many different ways.

Young children also love to play with real things – kitchen utensils, stones and sticks, old clothes and blankets and, of course, big cardboard boxes.

Playing Together

A father’s other responsibility – actually, it’s an opportunity – is to be part of children’s play some of the time. But even when a parent puts on his playmate hat, he still wears his parent/supervisor hat.
What your children get out of playing with you:

  • fun
  • safety
  • new ideas
  • positive attention from someone they love
  • a memory bank of good times spent with Dad

What you get out of playing with your kids:

  • fun – playing is good for adults, too
  • a better understanding of your child
  • a better relationship
  • a chance to have a positive influence on your child’s development of self-esteem and character

Next time – Four ways to be involved in your child’s play . . . stay tuned.

For a great booklet on play for dads, download Daddy, Come Play with Me.

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