Year of the Dad: How Reading, Singing, and Rhyming Helps Families to Bond

In the final Year of the Dad blog for Bookbug in 2016, Brock Lueck of One Parent Families Scotland reminds us how sharing books, songs, and rhymes with children can positively impact on father-child bonding. We hope you've enjoyed our series of blogs about the importance of dads, step-dads,and other father-figures this year. We're planning to have plenty more blogs about how dads are engaged with the Bookbug Programme in 2017!


As a father, and someone who works with young children and fathers, I am always looking for ways to support the relationships between dads and their kids. What kinds of activities are the most fun and useful for children’s development, while also being well suited to dads? Obviously, every family is unique and there is no ‘silver bullet’ to guarantee children will develop in a certain way. But for me, fathers and children reading, rhyming, and singing together offers both so much, and is something that we could do more to promote.

Reading, singing, and rhyming offers dads a ‘time out’ to spend quality time with their wee ones

There is increasing evidence that these activities benefit the speech and language development of young children. But, it also gives fathers and children an excuse to be cuddled and have an intimate experience together. Some dads find this kind of contact easy, but others can struggle to be physically affectionate. Reading, singing, and rhyming can support children’s attachment to their dads and offers dads a ‘time out’ to spend quality time with their wee one. Books before bedtime also help young children (who can’t tell the time) to get into a nightly routine and develop good sleeping habits. For children of that age, it’s all about the sleep!

Brock Lueck and Child reading
Families come in many different forms, with different make ups, access to resources, and even literacy levels. But reading, rhyming, and singing can always be fit in somewhere, somehow. For some dads, reading and singing can offer a more ‘tolerable’ setting to be silly and imaginative, which all young children need in heavy doses. And that is what I find Bookbug sessions are so good for. They offer an opportunity for dads to do things they might not do very often, see the benefits to their kids, and do more of it in the future.

Because, it seems to me, the best parenting is all about confidence. Confidence to know that you’re going to get it wrong from time to time and keep trying, and the confidence to look silly for the sake of your child. The most often repeated phrase that we hear from dads is: ‘I would do anything for my bairns.’ At our Dads’ Club in South Edinburgh, we give them the opportunity to put that into action by driving the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ once a month. Come join us.


One Parent Families Scotland collaborates with the City of Edinburgh and the Cattanach Trust to support separated dads and their children. For more information contact

Image above left: Brock Lueck sharing a story with his child.

Brock Lueck

Brock Lueck is Manager at One Parent Families Scotland. One Parent Families Scotland provides help to all single parent families; mums, dads, young parents and kinship carers.