This week, Dr Bruce Robinson talks about family wellbeing.
Fathers have a powerful impact on the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of children from infancy to adolescence, with lasting influences into their adult life.
Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and as they grow older, have better social connections with peers.
At The Fathering Project, our research tells us that ‘Play is a game changer’ – because the way fathers play with their children also has a highly important impact on a child’s emotional and social development. Children who play with their fathers are more confident and better at coping with challenges, setbacks or problems. Fathers are also more likely to engage children in the physical activity they need for good health.
This month, The Fathering Project seeks to provide fathers with tips to support their children’s wellbeing during these testing times and beyond.
Tips for looking after family wellbeing:
Maintain ‘normal’ day-to-day routines where possible – e.g. keep regular wake up and bedtimes, playing and getting outdoors, exercise, learning times and working times.
Use family meetings for wellbeing check-ins – ask open questions about how everyone is coping and how the family is functioning together. What is working? What isn’t going so well?
Tune into your family’s feelings – Let them know that it is normal to have a range of feelings during this time and it is really good to talk about them.
Stay connected with family and friends – Keep regular contact via phone or video calls. As social beings we need to be connected to be healthy and happy.
Focus on the positives – Each day ask your family members to think of something they are happy about, grateful for, have laughed at or have enjoyed
Take care of yourself – Your children will be looking to you and how you are managing and responding.
If you feel you need more information or links to support for you and your family, you can find this in our new At Home section of The Fathering Project website. thefatheringproject.org/at-home
If you are struggling, call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
If children are struggling, they can call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636