Working long hours can prevent parents, especially males from spending time with their children or addressing family health issues, especially their own. However, recent research shows that when fathers take an active role in their children's education, the return on investment is two-fold. Children do better in school, gaining self esteem and start developing healthy lifestyle habits learned at home. This month on "Its About You", Chuck Stamper, East Region Program & Development Coordinator for UK Cooperative Extension and Cristy Honaker, Family & Consumer Science Agent for Pike County gives us insights on the importance of dads reading to children and how males can be a positive influence on their families' health as well as their own.

Core Messages:

  • Current research show when children grow up with nurturing, caring and actively involved fathers or adult male role models , they:
    • do better in school
    • have higher self-esteem
    • build better relationships with their peers
    • develop healthier attitudes about behaving as an adult
    • mature as more successful adults
  • Family literacy programs such as FRED (Father Reading Every Day) can help engage males in reading and doing more activities with their children. In Pike Co, Kentucky more than 100 male role models have spent over 200 hours, reading more than 748 books during the initial FCS program partnership with the Pike Co Library system.
  • Benefits of family literacy programs like the FRED program show that the children reading skills, comprehension and overall attitude about learning improves while the adult male gains insight on the importance of spending time with their children.
  • Focusing on the family can also help males to focus on their own health. Men typically have more health issues than women but spend less time seeking preventive health care. It's important for males to make time for routine screenings for male only cancers and annual checkups.
  • The females in a man's life can make a significant difference in keeping him healthy by encouraging him to seek medical help and working together to develop a healthy lifestyle.
  • Parents are the major role models from which children develop their own health and education habits and beliefs.
  • Take time out now for your children and yourself! It's the best investment that parents and adult role models can make!