June 2022



The Father Factor: Building Strong Connections


By Jeremiah Boone
County of Orange Social Services Agency



Research suggests that strong parent-child attachment leads to successful psychological, cognitive and social development in children. Fathers need to keep in mind that their style of connecting is closely related to their attachment histories. Sometimes, generational gaps exist — but intentionality can fill those gaps. Below are some age-appropriate suggestions on how fathers can develop healthy attachments with their children.


Newborns (Ages 0 to 1)


  • Hold infants against your skin — give eye contact, smile and talk to them
  • Positive touch — sit with your child and quietly stroke their cheeks and back
  • Get involved with the daily routine — bathing, feeding, changing diapers, putting to sleep


Toddlers and Preschoolers (Ages 1 to 5)


  • Play — kick, roll or toss a ball back and forth, build with blocks, blow bubbles
  • Stimulate imagination — read books, pretend play with stuffed animals, draw with sidewalk chalk
  • Physical play — play hide-and-seek, have a dance party


School-Age Children (Ages 5 to 13)


  • Eat at the dinner table — talk about their day or anything that interests your child — keep devices off
  • Run errands together — this builds social and communication skills and self-confidence
  • Help with homework
  • Explore interests together — cooking, painting, drawing, music, crafts


Adolescents/Teens (Ages 13 to 19)


  • Tell stories of when you were young and the challenges/victories you experienced
  • Prioritize topics you want to discuss — this may involve scheduling time to make it happen
  • Daily, read a book, devotional or mantra and discuss the significance
  • Participate in their interests — play their favorite video game, listen to their favorite song



What Kids Need From Parents — Dr. Kathy Koch