At St Michael's Fellowship we believe in supporting parents to be the best parents they can be. Two recent articles by The Guardian showcased the importance of physcial play, specifically the benefits of father-child play. The other showed the importance and power of physcial touch as a key contributor to child development.
How physical play with fathers can help child's emotional development
A study for Cambridge University and LEGO Foundation showed:
"There is a consistent correlation between father-child play and a child's ability to later control their feelings."
Dr Ciara Laverty (LEGO Foundation):
"It's not unusual for fathers who take their child to a parent-toddler group, for example, to find they are the only father there. A culture shift is beginning to happen, but it needs to happen more."
It is vital fathers are given the space and opporunity to interact with their children in a safe and comfortable environment. Whether that be at home, or at a play group. At St Michael's we work closely with fathers through our Young Fathers and Caring Dads programmes, to provide them that space that is often lacking.
In order for change to happen, we need to make room for it.
The healing power of a hug
Kevin Powell is an author, poet, civil and human rights activist and journalist. In his article he shares his traumatic abusive childhood, where the only physical touch he received would be violent.
Aged 18, a hug from a university friend changed him.
"It was foreign to me...there were no hugs, no kisses, no I love yous."
The benefits to physical and verbal affection are endless. A childhood without can lead to a lack of emotional development, deeply affecting a child's emotional wellbeing.
"Touching is magic for the soul, it is healing."
Parent-child bonding is a huge part of the work we do at St Michael's. As well as physical play and physcial affection, the stimulation of different senses are another key part of a child's development.
One of the teams in our residential assessments created their very own sensory play room: click here to take a look!
Links to articles:
- 'Physical play with fathers may help children control emotions, study finds': https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/30/physical-play-with-fathers-may-help-children-control-emotions-study-finds
- 'The Power of Touch: I was hugged for the first time at 18. It meant confronting my deepest fears': https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jul/15/i-was-18-hugged-first-time-sister-souljah-activist