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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ricarda Engelmeier

Paternity Leave = free brain training programme for dads

We talk a lot about all the leadership skills that we hone as we parent our kids - but as the research published in a recent Harvard Business Review article shows, parenting doesn’t just hone skills - it actually affects neuroplasticity too - even in dads! 


A word of caution though: it’s not enough to just become a father; you have to actually take on the primary care-work - so it’s about spending one-on-one time with your baby, and the earlier the better.


“Like most training programs, the benefits become clear with every effort you put in,” writes the author. “The beauty of fatherhood brain training is that it does not require an intensive workout, a stack of books, or long days in a conference room. The only thing you need for this training program is engaged time with your baby.” The consequences of that will stay with you for the rest of your life as a parent: “This short-term time investment has the potential to pay a lifelong dividend in dad instincts.”


The fact that active parenting actually alters our brains for the better is just another reason why it’s so important that fathers take parental leave and that we talk about hashtag#equalcare. As I keep saying, the more dads take parental leave, the more normalised it gets - and the easier it becomes for both genders to come back and enjoy fulfilling careers as well as being active parents. (It’s good for relationships too, as this article notes). That’s also why we work actively with Volker Baisch and the fathers’ network conpadres , and encourage the companies who work with us to normalise parental leave for both genders.


"If we want to see greater gender equality, we need to not just focus on women’s participation in the professional world — we need to encourage more men to participate in the caregiving world.”


I couldn’t agree more!



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