Changing diapers, bathing, and putting on pajamas aren't just tasks for mothers, and more fathers are recognizing that and getting in on the parenting action. A new government report shows that most American fathers say they are heavily involved in hands-on parenting.
The data comes from a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey shows that fathers' involvement with their kids has increased slightly since 2002, when dads were first asked.
This is not only great for moms, who can get a much-needed break, but especially beneficial for kids who thrive when their fathers are engaging.
"Others have found the more involved dads are, the better the outcomes for their children," said Jo Jones of NCHS, to the Associated Press.
When dads are putting in the time and effort with their kids, children do better in school, behave better and tend to be healthier, Jones said.
The study involved 4,000 dads aged 15 to 44 years old who were interviewed in person between 2006 and 2010. All of the information was self-reported, so no input from partners or anyone else. Most men were married or living with their partner.
Key findings show:
- 9 in 10 fathers bathed, diapered, helped use the toilet or dressed their children at least several times a week.
- Most fathers played with their kids and ate meals with them often.
- 2 of 3 dads helped with homework several times a week.
- Half of the dads surveyed took kids to and from activities several times weekly.
- Fathers of children over 5 years old were generally less involved than those with younger children.
- Men with some college education were generally more involved with their kids than those less educated.