The Importance of Father-Child Bonding

October 7, 2015 Published by

The Book Trust has reported that less that 20% of fathers under 25 read to their children at bedtime.The Benefits of Father-Child Bonding

However, new research from Harvard University has suggested that children benefit more from being read to their father at bedtime than their mother. The study suggests that fathers spark more “imaginative discussions” and ask more “cognitively challenging”, abstract questions (such as ‘Oh look, a ladder. Do you remember when I had that ladder in my truck?’, rather than factual questions like ‘How many apples do you see?’).

A recent article by the Telegraph lists five benefits of fathers reading to their child, including the positive effects on literacy and behaviour.

One point in the article mentioned how reading to their children can help fathers de-stress. This has further value when we look at the Parent Centred Parenting model, in which parents are important role models for their child – the approach argues that the best thing a parent can do for their child is be a good role model, and this includes taking care of their own mental, emotional and physical needs. A father who is relaxed after a reading session with their child also represents a positive role model.

Mothers are also able to have some ‘down-time’ during these reading sessions, or any other time fathers spend alone with their child. Having time to themselves to relax and take care of their own wellbeing also helps mothers become good role models for their child.

The benefits stretch even further when you look at the advantages of the quality time spent together, whatever the activity. One-to-one activities are brilliant opportunities for developing a secure father-child attachment.


“Attachment allows children the ‘secure base’ necessary to explore, learn and relate, and the wellbeing, motivation, and opportunity to do so.”

(The British Journal of General Practice)

As well as promoting good personal and emotional development, and helping children grow into confident individuals, a strong relationship means a child is more likely to turn to their father for support as they grow older.

Any quality time a father spends with his child is valuable for developing attachment, and allows the mother some free time to look after herself, contributing to being a strong role model.

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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