It’s no secret that modern dads are making a bigger commitment to meaningful family time. In fact, a new study found that dads are spending about 3x as much time with their kids as they were 50 years ago.
And that’s progress worth celebrating—dads who spend quality time with their children are more physically and emotionally engaged, more present at important events, and provide more emotional support. But there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to giving dads the tools they need to be good partners and parents.
While modern dads consider fatherhood as central to their identity, moms often still bear the brunt of the mental load at home. And employers aren’t making it any easier for dads to spend time with their kids—less than 1 in 5 men in the US are offered any paid paternity leave.
So why is it so important for dads to spend more quality time with their kids?
1. Parents develop more equal partnerships.
When dads spend more time at home, both parents have a better understanding of what it takes to raise a child. And it’s not just about playtime with the kids—the burden of scheduling doctor’s appointments, keeping track of sports schedules and carpool commitments, booking sitters and registering for activities can take a mental toll.
So being conscious about splitting responsibilities can be a game changer. And having dad at home more often is key to building a more equal partnership.
“Now I appreciate what goes into being a parent. It’s about helping and supporting each other.” — Paul, new dad
2. Toxic masculinity becomes a thing of the past.
While masculinity can teach kids several important lessons, like how to be confident, loyal and assertive, there’s a flipside. Studies show that when dads don’t spend time at home, children are more likely to learn toxic behaviors like aggression, detached relationships, lack of emotion and failing to ask for help. When dads are more engaged at home, they’re also more likely to be emotionally supportive, open, and present—which, in turn, encourages the same traits their children.
3. Our kids do better in school.
Research shows that when fathers take paternity leave, their kids are likely to have higher school performance later in life. And that statistic only improves if dad is home more often when kids grow older. Unsurprisingly, having an adult around to help with homework greatly improves a child’s chance of succeeding at school.
4. Both mom and dad are happier.
The MenCare State of World’s Fathers report shows that men are generally happier, and experience fewer mental and physical health problems, when caring for young children. And when moms receive more support from their spouses, they’re less likely to experience postpartum depression. When dad’s home, everybody wins!
So how can we help dads get the time they need with their kids?
It starts in the workplace. Advocating for a supportive environment for working parents is key. Ask for a flexible work schedule or the option to work from home if you’re in charge of after-school pick-up or want to catch the school play.
It also means fixing child care. A recent study shows that US parents are the least happy in comparison to parents from other countries. The solution? Social policies that allow parents to combine paid work with family obligations. That means providing easy access to affordable child care on a national scale.
Yes, there’s still some work to do when it comes to making life better for dads. And we’re proud to be a part of the solution by making it easier to find sitters you love. But we can’t do it alone. Will you take the pledge to help dads spend more time with their kids?