The pandemic has brought about several shifts to family life, and one of them has been the role of fathers. The increase in the amount of time spent at home has resulted in dads spending more time with their children, and this trend brings the potential to help reconsider the way that fatherhood and working patterns are valued.
89% of Canadian fathers said in a recent survey that they feel more engaged with their children during the pandemic, and a U.S. academic study showed that 45% of American dads are spending more time on childcare during the pandemic. Overall, these statistics represent a larger shift from past data that showed that fathers often felt less involved in their kids’ lives than mothers. In recent news stories, dads have talked about the pleasures of discovering shared interests with their children and noticing the little things that their partner does, among other new-found appreciations.
This involvement produces many life-long benefits for children. For example, interactions during a child’s first three years help create a foundation for learning, and toddlers whose fathers read to them develop better receptive vocabulary and cognitive skills. A secure attachment between dads and their children also promotes positive outcomes, which include better emotional regulation, higher self -esteem, and better academic performance.
However, it is important to note that women, non-binary, and transgender parents have been impacted the most by the pandemic overall. Women left the workforce at four times the rate as men and still undertake the majority of childcare and household duties, and the pandemic has exposed members of the LGBTQ+ community to increased discrimination. Women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth during the pandemic are also at a higher risk for clinical levels of anxiety and depression. While men are reportedly doing more childcare and housework, there is still a need for society to do more to support women, non-binary, and transgender parents, and correct the gender imbalance in the home.
Below is a selection of articles and resources to inform and support fathers during the pandemic and beyond. In addition, the FCO’s Resource Centre links to online materials related to Fatherhood. Register for our upcoming workshop Fatherhood Under Pressure.
Fatherhood During the Time of COVID-19: Tips for Fathers with Newborns – Child Birth Graphics
Dad, Distanced: The Turbulence of New Fatherhood Amidst a Pandemic – Discover Society