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

November 23, 2008

A Father's Presence Impacts A Child's Well-Being More Than Ever This Holiday Season

Due to job layoffs, increased costs and other economic issues, many Coloradans will be buying less this holiday season. It is important to remember, however, that having fewer presents won’t result in an unhappy holiday. Spending time together as a family during the holidays means more than rushing to the mall to buy gifts. This December, Colorado dads will follow that advice as they make their children, not presents, their priority.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, from birth children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings and, as they grow older, have better social connections with their peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school or in their neighborhoods.

There are many free or low-cost activities fathers can participate in with their children throughout the holidays. Just by spending a few minutes a day together, they can build a stronger relationship and realize the true meaning of the season. Need a few ideas?

1. Make the most of the holidays
- Watch a holiday movie together. A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer and It’s A Wonderful Life are just a few classics to consider.
- Weather permitting, head outside for a snowball fight, build a snowman or go sledding.
- Decorate for the holidays together. Make your own Christmas ornaments, gingerbread houses or Hanukkah dreidels.
- Volunteer at your child’s school. Help set-up a holiday party or make the class gifts or attend the annual Christmas show.
-Make your own holiday dinner from start to finish together.

2. Give back
Participating in service projects is a wonderful way for children to connect with their fathers while also building awareness of the world around them.
- Volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bell with your children at locations throughout your community.
- Serve dinner one night at a local soup kitchen.
- Volunteer to help build a local Habitat for Humanity home.
- Spend time at a local nursing home reading or visiting with residents.

“At this time of year, many fathers are concerned with what sort of gifts they can give their children,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “But at the end of the day, presents cannot compare to a father spending one-on-one time with his children. That’s what will truly impact a child’s life long after the presents are opened.”

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 $1.2 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 on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.