DAD BABY 2

DOES DAD TIME WITH INFANTS BOOST BABIES’ IQ?

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A new study suggests that if you’re a new father, spending plenty of time with your baby could boost his or her mental development.

British researchers looked at how 128 fathers interacted with their infants at 3 months of age. When the kids turned 2, the researchers measured their mental development. Infants whose fathers were more engaged and active when playing with them in their first few months of life did better on thinking skills tests at age 2 than other infants.

The researchers didn’t see any differences based on the gender of the baby. Dad’s interactions had a positive influence on thinking skills for both boys and girls.

“Even as early as 3 months, these father-child interactions can positively predict cognitive development almost two years later, so there’s something probably quite meaningful for later development, and that really hasn’t been shown much before,” study leader Paul Ramchandani said in an Imperial College London news release. He is a professor at the school’s department of medicine.

Study co-author Vaheshta Sethna said, “We also found that children interacting with sensitive, calm and less anxious fathers during a book session at the age of 2 showed better cognitive development, including attention, problem-solving, language and social skills.” She’s with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.

“Our findings highlight the importance of supporting fathers to interact more positively with their children in early infancy,” Sethna said. She added that sharing positive emotions and reading activities seem to be linked to bigger boosts in the child’s thinking skills.

The study was published recently in Infant Mental Health Journal.

This study lends credence to the benefits of infant massage for fathers.

Encouraging fathers to attend our classes before the baby is 3 months old

should be one of our priorities!

About the Author

Vimala McClureI brought the art of infant massage to the Western world after learning about it in India in 1973. After years of research and having my first baby, I developed a curriculum to teach parents. I wrote the classic INFANT MASSAGE, A HANDBOOK FOR LOVING PARENTS (Penguin/Random House), first published in 1979, revised and updated several times since. I began training instructors, then training experienced instructors to be international trainers. I then founded the nonprofit IAIM, now the "Gold Standard" for infant massage information, instruction, and training worldwide.View all posts by Vimala McClure

IAIM MISSION: The purpose of the International Association of Infant Massage is to promote nurturing touch and communication through training, education and research so that parents, caregivers and children are loved, valued and respected throughout the world community.