Father’s day is fast approaching and it feels even more special after a challenging year. For many Dads this year Father’s Day will be different. The pandemic has been a catalyst for change and the last year of lockdowns has blurred the lines between work and home life. The Office of National Statistics  reported that Dads are spending more time at home than ever before, albeit often to complete a full working day. Workplaces are flexible and becoming increasingly family friendly which reflects a longer-term trend of increased paternal involvement in the home . So, have these life changes, imposed by the pandemic, changed the role of fathers?
More time with Dad
Not only have Dads been spending more time at home, but they have been spending more time with their children too. In Spring 2020 lockdown in the UK meant fathers almost doubled the time they spent with their children . Despite many challenges families have faced, for many fathers this has been an opportunity to establish deeper and broader relationships. It has given many a chance to recognise the joys and benefits of fatherhood in a way that they have not been able to in the past and to think more deeply about how they engage with their children. So, how has Dads engagement changed?
Fathers have been more involved in family life. According to a large-scale study conducted by the Fathers Institute , 74% dads from two parent households did more supervising of children and 68% did more home-schooling. Plus, more than half experienced an increase in confidence when it came to supporting their child’s learning. This is positive news as there is a strong relationship between paternal involvement at home and children’s educational attainment .
Dads also did more of the fun stuff. For many children this led to more play time. 76% of Dads participated in more shared activities like gaming and reading . Fathers reported enjoying having more meaningful conversations, discovering shared interests, and getting to know their children better . So, have these changes influenced fathers role in decision making when it comes to products for their kids?
Absolutely, recent data suggests fathers play a substantial role in purchasing decisions for their children with 83% of fathers with children aged 0-12 reporting they contribute to purchasing decisions a lot .
We have seen that Dads are taking a more hands on approach in the home as a result of the pandemic and are able to be more heavily involved with their children and this has extended to purchasing decisions too. Whilst Dads have always had an important role in decisions surrounding purchasing for their kids, these recent shifts in family and work life have meant we are now seeing Dads playing an ever-bigger role at earlier stages in the purchase journey where inspiration and product selection is key. Brands that only focus on talking to Mum are certainly missing a valuable piece of the pie!
Whilst this blog focuses on fathers in general, we acknowledge that families vary in terms of structure, gender identity and many other characteristics.
 Flouri, E. & Buchanan, A. (2004) Early father’s and mother’s involvement and child’s later educational outcomes British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 141-153
 Overnight Poll June 2021