Just in time for Fathers Day, First 5 LA is reminding the public that father’s “really do matter” and it’s important for them and other caregivers to get more involved in the lives of their children.
And not just when they are older, but starting before they are even born, according to First 5, an organization focused on financing health, education and child development programs for children ages zero to five years and their families in Los Angeles County.
Research shows that an active father figure can have a significant positive impact on the physical, behavioral and emotional wellbeing of a child; results that are seen in higher academic achievement and greater professional success, according to First 5 LA.
On the other hand, the research also indicates that a father’s absence can have negative lifelong results, such as higher rates of poverty, school dropouts, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, crime and depression.
Mothers may have a physical connection with their children before fathers, but it’s just as vital for fathers to bond with their child from the very beginning, says First 5 LA Public Affairs Director Francisco Oaxaca.
He said research shows that dads are not spending as much time with their children as they would like, and what time they do spend is often not enough to be truly beneficial.
“According to a recent Pew Research report, 50 percent of fathers say juggling work and family life is difficult for them and 46 percent say they’re not spending enough time with their children,” Oaxaca said in a written statement.
That’s why First 5 LA started “A Father Really Matters,” a public education campaign aimed at encouraging dads, father figures and other male caregivers of children 5 and under to get more involved with their children, Oaxaca explained. First 5’s initiative, which runs through the end of this month, provides tips and resources on how fathers can get more involved.
“Children thrive when they have an involved father or male caregiver, someone who loves them, knows them, guides them, and helps them achieve greater academic success,” said First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé in April when the campaign was first launched.
She said the goal is to “inspire and equip men to be engaged fathers, grandfathers and father figures for the young children in their lives.”
Father’s Day is a great time to again remind the public that fathers really do matter, says First 5 LA.
For tips and activities dads and their children can do together, visit the website www.readysetgrowla.org/Dads