Over the past couple of months, there has been an uproar among parents over Baby Einstein toys and the unfounded claims that the toys will make a baby smarter. In light of this, Boot Camp for New Dads reminds parents that there is a substantiated way to raise your baby’s intelligence – through playtime with Dad.
Greg Bishop, author of two books on fatherhood and the founder of Boot Camp for New Dads (http://www.bcnd.org), a non-profit orientation program for fathers-to-be, operating in more than 260 hospitals, clinics, schools, fire stations and churches around North America and internationally, has worked with hundreds of thousands of dads over the past 19 years.
Bishop and thousands of dads (and moms) know that when it comes to raising infant intelligence, dad is the baby’s best toy. According to a recent article in Parents magazine, playtime may look like all fun, but is actually “work” to your child. In the article, Marilyn Segal, PhD, an early childhood studies program director at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale stated, “Playtime helps develop a baby’s social, intellectual, language, and problem-solving skills.”
According to ParentsAsTeachers.org, “There are certain aspects of male styles that support a child’s intellectual development. Dads often have a special interest in analytical skills such as math and problem solving. Dad’s care can combine with mom’s to effect how children think of their own abilities and effect how well they do in school.”
Research has shown that dad is destined to become the baby’s primary playmate. In fact, two-thirds of six-month-old babies choose dad when it comes to playtime. Below, Bishop shares insight from his first book, Hit the Ground Crawling on the role that dads play that ultimately helps with baby brain development:
Why a baby picks dad for playing. Babies notice right after birth that dad looks, smells, feels and sounds different than mom. As the weeks go by, a baby notices that while mom is protective and calming, dad is more playful, physical and sometimes very surprising. When a baby is fussy, dad will tend to tickle or lift his baby into the air. A baby will start to recognize the difference and anticipate something exciting at the sound of dad’s voice.
As months go by, the first thing a baby begins to think when dad walks in the room is “playtime!” Mom and dad’s style of play are different and a baby knows it. While a mom might steady the blocks that are about to tumble, dad will let them fall or maybe even push them over.
Dad’s style complements mom’s. Although they may come into conflict at times, dad’s adventurous role does complement that of mom’s and the combination is what turns out well-rounded children. Dads introduce new challenges to their baby and encourage them to explore their worlds. Playtime with dad contributes to the baby’s physical, intellectual and social development and leads to great qualities later in life such as good relationships with peers; a knowledge of limits and a spirit of adventure.
Babies grow by playing. Never underestimate the power of play and the way dads are happy to crawl on the floor and really get into playtime with their baby. For example, the skills a three-month-old learns by playing a simple game of “peek-a-boo” include observation, language, coordination, communication, exploration, problem solving, socialization, rhythm, creativity and humor. Other games work on dexterity, balance, trust, strength and timing.
According to Bishop, “Research has shown that children whose fathers are a consistent, positive force in their lives do better socially, intellectually and physically. A father’s style of play is different than a mother’s just as the way he interacts with his baby is different, which is a good thing. Dads may not realize it, but what they bring to the table is simply indispensable.”
A Boot Camp for New Dads mom summed up how a father benefits his child’s brain in a recent email, “What will boost a baby’s development better than infant massage, listening to Mozart and ‘baby rocket scientist’ DVD’s all together? Having a hands-on Dad!”
Boot Camp for New Dads
Now celebrating their 19th year, Boot Camp for New Dads is nationally acclaimed as the “Best Practice” for preparing men to be fathers and has been named a U.S. Navy Model Program. Boot Camp for New Dads has prepared more than 200,000 men for fatherhood over the years.
Today, Greg Bishop and 400 other Boot Camp Coaches conduct workshops in 44 states and the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force.
With more than 4.1 million births (National Center for Health Statistics), and approximately 1.5 million men becoming new dads every year, it’s more important than ever for fathers to realize that being a “good provider” is only part of the very central role they have in their children’s lives.
National and International Locations
Boot Camp For New Dads locations include ALASKA (Anchorage); ARIZONA (Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City); ARKANSAS (Jonesboro, Paragould, Springdale); CALIFORNIA (Apple Valley, Bakersfield, , Fresno, Garden Grove, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Madera, Merced, Mission Hills, , Oakland, Orange, Pomona, Port Hueneme, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, , S. Lake Tahoe, Travis, Valley Springs); COLORADO (Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Fort Carson, Greeley, Longmont, Thornton, Wheat Ridge); CONNECTICUT (Bristol, Danbury, New London); FLORIDA (Brandon, Clearwater, Hollywood, Jacksonville, North Palm Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Tampa); GEORGIA (Atlanta, Elberton, Gainesville, Marietta, Savannah); HAWAII (Pearl Harbor, Schofield); ILLINOIS (Aurora, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, East St. Louis, Evanston, Freeport, Geneva, Great Lakes, Highland Park, Libertyville, Moline, Oak Park, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana, Winfield); INDIANA (Anderson, Bluffton, Hammond, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Kokomo); IOWA (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Jefferson, Sioux City); KANSAS (Junction City, Topeka); KENTUCKY (Paducah); LOUISIANA (Covington); MAINE (Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Waterville); MARYLAND (Annapolis) MASSACHUSETTS (Beverly, Ipswich, Lowell, Nantucket, Plymouth, Weymouth, Springfield); MICHIGAN (, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Centreville, Iron Mountain, Ithaca, Kalamazoo, Niles, St Joseph, Ypsilanti); MINNESOTA (Brainerd, Duluth, Robbinsdale); MISSISSIPPI (Tupelo); MISSOURI (Jefferson City) MONTANA (Billings, Helena, Miles City); NEBRASKA (Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha); NEVADA (Las Vegas) NEW HAMPSHIRE (Manchester, Portsmouth); NEW JERSEY (Princeton) NEW YORK (Glens Falls, Little Falls, Mineola, Rome, Utica); NORTH CAROLINA (Burlington, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Concord, Ft. Bragg, Greensboro, Monroe, Raleigh, Shelby); NORTH DAKOTA (Grand Forks); OHIO (Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, East Cleveland, East Liverpool, Garfield Heights, Lima, Lorain, Mayfield Heights, Middleburg Heights, Orange Village, Portsmouth, Toledo, Warren, Westlake, Youngstown); OKLAHOMA (Claremore, Oklahoma City, Tulsa); OREGON (Corvalis, McMinnville, Salem, Silverton); SOUTH CAROLINA (Columbia, Pickens, Walhalla); TENNESSEE (Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis); TEXAS (Amarillo, Dallas, Fort Hood, Longview, Lubbock, Plano, San Antonio, Texarkana, Waco, Webster); VERMONT (Barre, Brattleboro, Middlebury); VIRGINIA (Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Hampton, Richmond) WASHINGTON (Everett, Fairchild AFB, Longview, Olympia, Puyallup, Yakima); WEST VIRGINIA (Wheeling); WISCONSIN (Florence, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Watertown, Wausau); JAPAN (Atsugi, Yokosuka), ITALY (Sicily); UNITED KINGDOM [a.k.a. Hit the Ground Crawling] (Birmingham, Liverpool)