Why More Men Should Push for Flexible Working Options

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Your children’s confidence will thank you.

Despite a spate of tech companies working to attract talent with ping pong tables and long in-office lunches, one precious commodity seems to lure employees like no other: time.

For working families, the addition of flexible working options in a contract provides priceless opportunities to find some semblance of ‘balance’ between work and family life. Indeed, this might explain recent pushes for traditional breadwinners to take a more active role in family life, as recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

“Nowadays, around 30 per cent of dads took advantage of flexible work hours to look after young children (under 12), compared with 16 per cent of dads two decades ago,” explained Lisa Conolly, the ABS’ Director of Family and Community Statistics.

Still, there remains a gap between parents who work full-time and their ability to make family time, with key studies uncovering the long-term effects of this nurturing neglect. Additionally, not only is it a question of time, it’s question of type – when it comes to play, the more meaningful, the better.

This study from the American Journal of Play clarifies that ‘free play’ – the ability for children to engage in play that isn’t adult or directive-driven – is a fundamental part of resisting tendencies for anxiety and narcissism in children.

Additionally, findings from research conducted by beloved doll brand Barbie also confirms just how important impactful play is to a child’s confidence – especially when it involves a father. The latter involved a survey of 1,260 Australians, which included both fathers and their children, found a correlation between high self-confidence and more time playing with their fathers: kids who displayed high levels of self-confidence spent an average of 5.1 hours a week playing, compared to 3.7 hours.

The relationship between dads and their daughters as a result of free play was particularly important in determining the degree to which young girls believe that they have control over their aspirations for later in life, where a father plays an important part in the creation of a firm role model – reflected in the findings that 4 out of 5 children want to be ‘just like their dads’ when they grow up.

In short? If you’re making the most of flexible working options, make sure to invest it in child’s play – the confidence of your kids, especially your daughters, will thank you for it.

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