Chief researcher Dr Richard Fletcher, from the University’s Family Action Centre, said the research would investigate how physical games contributed to the mental and physical progress of young children.
“We know that fathers often play tickling or wrestling games with their pre-school children and we know that children enjoy these vigorous and physical activities,” Dr Fletcher said.
“What we don’t know is if these activities have an impact on how children learn to manage their emotions and their physical energy.
“This research will tell us if father-child physical play affects children’s development, both physically and mentally.”
The research team is recruiting men and their four-year-old children to participate in the pilot study.
As part of the project, University researchers will visit the home of participants to video the father and child at play. Participation will involve one session for up to one hour. Researchers will also play simple learning games with the child to measure various skill-levels and behaviours.
“Studies show that childhood obesity starts at a very early age and this research also aims to determine if these types of play-wrestling games influence a child’s physically activity as they grow older.”
Fathers interested in participating in this research with their children should telephone Dr Richard Fletcher on 02 4921 6401 or 0401 855 678. Children must be four-years-old to participate in the study.
Dr Fletcher is the leader of the University’s Fathers and Families Research Program and the Convenor of the Australian Fatherhood Research Network.
For interviews: Dr Richard Fletcher on 02 4921 6401 or 0401 855 678.
Photo opportunity: A father and child involved in the study will be available for photographic/vision opportunities today (Monday 17 January) between 9am and 12pm and tomorrow (Tuesday 18 January) between 9am and 12pm.