More Dads Recognizing Importance of Bonding Time

Little Amelia stole her daddy’s heart from the moment she was born, and like many dads, Mike Mikosz recognizes the importance of bonding time with his newborn.

“I wanted to make sure I took the time I felt was necessary to be around and stay away from the office and be around for the every-day,” he said. His time means he and his wife can share nurturing responsibilities, and Mike gets to watch as his child develops.

Mike’s interest in his newborn echoes a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, chronicling a shift in more men adopting nurturing roles, their positive impact on childhood development and a call by pediatricians to encourage more male involvement. Dr. Eric Rader, Amelia’s pediatrician, couldn’t agree more.

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“[Dads can get involved] to help Mom out, but also the bonding time with Dad—Mom needs a break, the baby’s up at 2 a.m. crying—go spend time with them, talk to them. Just to start hearing that voice,” said Dr. Rader.

He regularly sees the positive impact being with Dad has on children as they develop, and the AAP study confirms this link: active male role-takers are critical to a child’s long-lasting, positive health benefits.

“It really means so much to me that he likes to play with her and he’s good at soothing her,” said Tracy Mikosz, Mike’s wife. “There’s no doubt she knows who he is, and he can pick her up and she’s calm. It’s pretty amazing.”

Additional findings suggest fathers can impact language development early in life, while adolescents with involved fathers are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, less likely to have depression, and are less likely to engage in sexual experiences early on. The way fathers play with their children can shape who they become, which is something Mike can’t wait to start.

“Daddy/ daughter dance parties: that’s going to be the thing,” he said. “So by the time she has her first daddy/ daughter dance in grade school, we’ll be well-prepared!”