Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

November 27, 2007

A Father’s Presence, Not Presents Truly Matter This Holiday Season

Denver—November 27, 2007— It is not surprising that in today’s world between work schedules, school and afternoon activities, fathers find themselves swept away in the chaos of every day. It is crucial to remember the importance of carving away time each day to spend with your children. The holiday season is a perfect time for fathers across Colorado to remember what truly matters by giving their children the gift of time.

Fathers can easily spend quality time with their children by doing meaningful activities together like crafts or reading. Even routine occasions, such as getting dressed in the morning or taking baths offer great opportunities for fathers to be with their children and help with their basic learning and understanding.

“Children want love and attention from their fathers and it’s true, the most important gift you can give your child this holiday season is your time,” said Rich Batten, family and fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “No matter what the activity is, children are more concerned with who they are with than what they are doing.”

What are some specific ways fathers can give their children their time during the holiday season?

  1. Get Creative
    • Use markers and crayons to draw pictures. Then hang them up on display for all to see.
    • Make holiday cards for family and friends.
    • Make holiday ornaments or festive decorations.
    • Create a holiday gingerbread house.
  2. Go Play
    • Build a snowman, have a snowball fight or go sledding on a snowy day.
    • Play tag or catch together.
  3. Stay Warm
    • Bake holiday cookies.
    • Make hot chocolate.
  4. Play a board or card game.
    • Put together a holiday puzzle.
    • Make popcorn and watch a seasonal movie.
  5. Give Back
    • Fathers can volunteer in the classroom, helping with holiday parties or crafts.
    • Volunteer together with local charities, hospitals or nursing homes.
    • Volunteer together at a soup kitchen or shelter.
    • Clean out old clothes and toys that are no longer needed and donate them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Research continues to report that father-child involvement has a profound impact on a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development. In fact, a 26-year study on 379 individuals reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the that the single most important childhood factor in developing empathy is paternal involvement. Fathers who spent time alone with their kids performing routine childcare at least two times a week raised children who were the most compassionate adults.

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information, please visit www.coloradodads.com.