Growing up, it was just my Mum and I. We lived with my Grandparents pretty much from the day I was born. My Pa as I called him, was the male role model in my life, and a bloody inspirational one if I do say so myself! He was an amazing man and my best friend.
Pa taught me to ride a bike, he always came to my ballet recitals or Father’s Day lunches at school, and he never bat an eyelid on the (countless!) occasions I begged him to play Barbie with me.
So, when Barbie asked us to be a part of their #DadsWhoPlayBarbie campaign – we jumped at the opportunity. And not just to gloat about what an amazing dad our girls have, but to highlight the importance of dads (or Granddads) in the lives of their daughters.
When I found out that my first baby was going to be a girl, I was over the moon. It meant the world to me to know that she would have the opportunity to have the same relationships with both her father and great grandfather.
Of course, for my husband I think the thought of having a daughter was a bit of a daunting one at first, especially when he had grown up with only a brother. But after the initial shock wore off, he too couldn’t wait to have a daughter.
When our beautiful baby girl came into the world, I think my husband realised very quickly that there really isn’t anything you can do with a son, that you couldn’t do with a daughter. He also quickly learnt that the gender stereotypes we perceive about ‘boys and girls’, are completely non-existent when they’re little (as it should be).
From day one, daddy and daughter have been super close – they do absolutely everything together. They go camping together, play sports together, they build things together – and they sure do spend a lot of time playing with Annabelle’s (countless!) toys.
One day, Annabelle might want to dress up as a Superhero and roleplay, the next she wants to play Barbie and get dad to braid her hair! And no matter what it is, he doesn’t complain. He just enjoys spending time with his best mate. It’s this quality time spent playing together that’ve helped them build such an incredibly powerful bond.
Barbie’s survey of 1,260 Australians (630 fathers and their children) highlighted that Dads who spend more time playing with their children have positive impacts on their levels of self-confidence, career aspirations and positivity around growing up. Having witnessed the impact of playtime first hand in my family, I’m not all surprised.
It also showed that dads investing in quality play time with their kids has a positive impact on helping kids believe they can be anything they want to be when they grow up (although, I think Dad might have a few ideas in mind, since his favourite Barbie is Game Developer Barbie…).
But more than that, I think it’s so important as a father to know just how much they can teach their daughter about so many vital aspects of life. From an early age, daughters pick up on the way their dads treat those around them. They learn how to be brave, how to be polite, how to be strong, and how to be caring. Dads also have a great opportunity to ingrain a positive body image in their daughters, something that will stick with them for much of their life.
The #DadsWhoPlayBarbie campaign aims to shine a light on the importance of playtime between Dads and their daughters, and I couldn’t get behind that message enough. Embrace every moment you possibly can to use play to help them grow and thrive – the impact of that quality together time should never be underestimated. You can check out more about Barbie’s amazing new campaign via https://www.facebook.com/officialbarbieaustralia/.