WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER TAKING PATERNITY LEAVE
Deciding whether or not you’re going to take paternity leave is a huge decision for you and your family. Whether it is 18 months or five weeks, paternity leave sets a foundation that lasts a lifetime. While the decision is a personal one, here are some of the benefits you and others can receive for taking the time to care:
How Children Benefit
During those first weeks of paternity leave, it may seem like all your baby does is sleep, eat and cry. Does it even matter which parent is present for that? Recent research suggests that there are many positive affects for children with fathers who take time away from work. In families with highly-engaged dads, children had significantly higher IQ scores at three years of age and less behavioral problems during the early school years. Families in which the father takes at least some paternity leave divide up household tasks more evenly between parents, and fathers who did at least 40 percent of family care tasks had children who had better academic achievement than children whose fathers were less involved. Interesting research also shows that men who are in regular contact with their newborn babies have a heightened awareness of the needs and moods of their children, which only increases the more time they spend with them.
How Partners Benefit
By taking at least part of shared parental leave, dads with partners who work outside the home help them resume their careers earlier. Not only does this help the partner’s professional advancement, but lessens the economic impact of the leave.
A Swedish study showed that every month of father’s leave increased the mother’s income by 6.7 percent measured four years later. There are also health and mental well-being benefits of fathers taking leave: mothers are less likely to suffer from post-partum depression, with fewer sick days when she returns to work, and a greater sense of well-being.
How You Benefit
A newborn baby is a challenge – but when both parents share the responsibility, their partnership becomes even stronger. Paul gave a great piece of dad advice. “Now I appreciate what goes into being a parent,” he said. “It’s about helping and supporting each other.”
Anna Sarkadi, Robert Kristiannsson, Frank Oberklaid, Sven Bremberg, “Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies,” Acta Pædiatrica September 2007
Jo Jones and William D. Mosher “Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006–2010,” National Health Statistics Report, No. 71, Dec 20, 2013
E.A. Johansson, “The Effect of Own and Spousal Parental Leave on Earnings,” Uppsala, Sweden: Institute for Labor Market Policy Evaluation, 2010.