Research today shows us that dads today spend three times the amount of time with their kids than their own fathers spent with them.
Just 54 years ago—so about two parenting generations back—fathers reported spending just 2.5 hours per week on childcare. Whereas today that number has risen to around 8. (Full-time parents, please contain your astonishment…we see you.)
The major increase in time dads are spending with their kids is awesome for more reasons than one.
First off, it makes dads happier when they’re more involved and invested. In fact, over half of dads reported that their fatherhood was an essential part of their identity AND that it was rewarding all the time. Hooray for individual happiness!
But all that joy spills over into the rest of the family, too. When fathers are present and working hard to equalize the home front workload, partners are happier as well. I mean, reportedly, full time moms have somewhere between 46 and 67 minutes to themselves each day (whereas men still have about double that amount of time) and it’s nice to know that someone else is doing their part during that small window. In fact, science even says that couples who share housework equally—and we can assume childcare, as well—actually have better sex lives than those who don’t. Score.
Now let’s get to the ones that really benefit from all this daddy-kiddo time: the kids.
Study after study shows that absent fathers have a huge negative effect on their children, usually where it hurts the most—their hearts. Kids without a consistently involved fathers suffer emotionally and socially, often leading to risky behaviors and further negative outcomes. Even into adulthood, kids raised without their dads shows signs of lasting emotional trauma. Ouch.
But the dads who do show up make all the difference. Kids who grow up with engaged fathers often experience the benefits of further and varied social interaction, exploration and creativity, have higher levels of cognitive and problem-solving skills, are more emotionally secure and less stressed.
I think that makes this trend a win-win-win.
So let’s hear it for the amazing dads today who are choosing to happily show up and invest in their kids’ lives. You’re literally making the world a better place.