Dads parent differently to mums and this is a good thing! Dads provide a wealth of important experiences and opportunities for their young children.

Dads feel, smell and sound different to mum. They also care, nurture and play differently.

All of this provides babies and growing children with a greater variety of sensory experiences.

According to evidence gathered by many research projects over the past thirty years, the more involved the father, or a father figure, the healthier the child’s development socially, emotionally and cognitively.

For some dads, fitting quality playtime around work and a busy life can be difficult. Learning to care for babies and assist their development takes time, but this is time very well spent. Educated parents make more confident parents.

The more quality time dads spend with their babies, the more over all joy and the closer the resulting bonding. Babies and children generally develop a great love of playtime with dad. It works on so many levels for everyone when dads are confident, capable and actively involved in child rearing.

Dads are generally far more likely to engage in rough and tumble ‘muck around’ play. Basically, they tend to be a lot more vigorous than mums.

When done safely, play activities like these are not only fun, they are also very important to your baby’s brain and body development.

Active play provides stimulation to very important parts of the brain. Gentle bouncing, swaying, rolling, swinging and spinning stimulates the brain stem, the cerebellum and the balance organs in the inner ear and enables developing brains to organise themselves so that the body can appropriately respond to gravity and sensory information. This helps to develop your baby’s posture, balance, vision and coordination.

It is wonderful that today there are so many more dads becoming as actively involved in baby rearing as their time will allow.

We are not just talking about changing nappies, dressing, bathing and so on, all of which are in themselves greatly important and rich experiences, we are also talking about being actively involved in introducing the correct movement experiences into their baby’s daily life and thus helping to have a profound influence on their baby’s brain growth, neurological organisation and future learning ability.

Learning must be fun! If your baby is not enjoying an activity, stop and come back to it another time. Before you begin any of our activities please read here.

Here are three lovely video activities for dad and baby to do together. You will find many more in GymbaROO’s free online video series for parents and babies here.

The Scrubbing Song. This gorgeous hand and foot play is wonderful for body awareness, tactility, bonding and fun.

I’m a Little Aeroplane. This fun exercise is excellent for muscle strengthening, vision and balance development and bonding. Babies must be strong enough to be able to hold their heads up by themselves for this activity.

Baby Massage. Here is a beautiful baby massage for dad to do with baby, including massage techniques. Baby massage is fantastic for so many areas of baby development, including brain growth. It’s a wonderful way for dad to bond with baby.

Did you or your partner give these exercises a go? Did your baby enjoy them? Please share in the comments below.

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  • Great ideas, thank you for sharing.


  • My husband bonded incredibly with my son from the start and has continued to have a fantastic relationship with my son right trough to his teen years. Hubby had to take over mothering duties initially due to post-trauma for me in hospital. I was unable to bathe, and in the end even feed my son so hubby was remarkable, mothering us both. He read to my son, played with him, taught him, bathed him every night as he grew, and over time took over the bed/sleep routine.


  • These are all great bonding ideas for Dads to do with their babies.


  • All great bonding activities for the dad and baby!


  • Beautiful to see the bond between baby’s and dad’s ! Dad’s are so important for a good and healthy development indeed.


  • This never happened in my day – great to see dad’s playing and bonding with their children these days.


  • I love watching my husband with my children when they were babies, now they are all in primary school I still love to watch him ‘doing things’ with them-mucking around, playing ball games etc. It’s great having a hands on dad.


  • It was nice to see baby and Daddy bonding.


  • I love watching my husband with my son! It fills my heart with so much joy!


  • Great article. I felt sorry for my hubby in the early days. All bub did was breastfeed or sleep and he didn’t get to do much. He bathed her and burped her but that was all. When she became more interactive it was great to see. He soon found his feet.


  • This is a fantastic article. My hubby really struggled to bond with bub, especially in the first few months. Once bub was more interactive he found it easier but these tips would have helped in the early stages.


  • Important article, thank you.


  • Hi Ladies, I heard about this place that offers breast pumps for hire and I found many places in Sydney. I also came across this http://www.ilsbabycare.com.au/breast-pump/. Have any of you tried hiring from ILS baby care? Some feedback would be great! Thank You


  • Some wonderful ideas. Thanks for the article


  • yes gotta encourage the baby and dad bond


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