Understanding the power of the “Father Effect”
Children, especially young ones, possess an innate curiosity and an openness to new experiences. They are like sponges, absorbing everything from their surroundings. They also crave attention from their parents, both their mother and father.
While historically men have not played as active a role in child-rearing, that has changed significantly in recent decades. However, it remains a relatively new phenomenon, with far more studies conducted on the impact of mothers on children compared to fathers.
Nevertheless, the influence of fathers is undeniable. One study conducted showed that when fathers actively engage and play with their children from early childhood, the collective benefits, commonly referred to as the "Father Effect," are huge!
These benefits continue to unfold as children develop and contribute to:
- Higher IQ’s
- Avoid high-risk behavior
- Fewer psychological problems
- more likely to have successful careers
- healthier relationships as an adult
The Impact of Shared Interests on Father-Child Bonding
Personally, it was only after becoming a parent myself that I realized the pivotal role we, as parents, play in shaping our children's future. The interactions we have with them during their early years have a profound impact on their growth and development.
There’s no handbook or instructional manual for being a #1 dad, and it’s hard for some to find ways to engage with a child that may not talk yet or even walk, but regardless of what you think, it matters to them. So, as a father myself, I have sought to foster shared interests, in other words, something I’m personally passionate to share with my kids. Early on, my daughter and I formed a deep connection through our mutual love for art, drawing, and painting. And with my son, it’s been all about cars and racing from day one.
Recently, since my wife and I developed an interest in Formula One racing, it has become a shared passion for our entire family. Over the past two years, watching an F1 Grand Prix together on Sundays has evolved into a cherished family tradition.
Connecting Through Sports
Sports fandom has always been an excellent example of an interest that transcends generations, and it provides a wonderful opportunity to bond with your children. Not only can you enjoy watching professionals compete on TV, but you can also engage in real-life play together. Some sports are easier than others, of course! But it’s still incredibly fun!
From my perspective, nurturing shared interests, be it a mutual love for cars or sports, holds the power to fortify the bond between me and my children. It paves the way for establishing enduring rituals that shape relationships and turn into lifelong traditions.
Here are some of our favorite ways to play and spark connection with your child over a shared interest.
- Read together! Reading together is one of our favorite ways (clearly!) of connecting with your child. As a dad I like to shop for kids books all the time, and I pick out books around interests I have that I’d love to share with my kids. In fact, it’s a big reason why I started Red Racer Books.
- Create something together – Imaginative play and collaborating projects are another way to not only develop great life skills for your children, but also provide a great bonding experience for both parent and child. I can’t tell you how many lego sets I’ve built with my own kids, especially car legos, and then you can play with them together. And if racing and cars is something you are into, I would highly recommend getting some flexible race tracks from Waytoplay toys. These amazing track sets allow you to build your own race track together and race whatever cars you have at home, whether they are hot wheels, model cars, or even lego cars.
- Imagine and make believe! Imaginative play can be difficult for adults, but it doesn’t need to be elaborate - even something as simple as racing cars around the track (our son loves a good Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton face-off) can be a great way to bond. Not to mention it’s a ton of fun!
Did you know that studies have shown that children's brains are more active and engaged while playing?
Give the gift of connection this Father's Day
One idea we love to celebrate Father's Day is to have a fun F1 family watch party! If you're a fan of Formula One and have kids, it's the perfect opportunity to tune in and watch the F1 Canadian Grand Prix, scheduled for June 18th, 2023. That's exactly what I'll be doing with my kids and friends during our watch party, and I can't think of a better gift than enjoying an
exhilarating race together with family.
Playing and spending quality time with parents is a precious experience that nurtures love, learning, and personal growth. This Father's Day, we take great pride in acknowledging the significance of this special bond through our collaboration with Way To Play. By bringing the love of Formula 1 racing into the realm of playtime and fostering creativity, we create opportunities to nurture children's curiosity and imagination.
Happy Father’s Day !
Not Affiliated with F1
Red Racer Books LLC is not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.