Fathers of Invention? Innovative Dads Make Waves

Soren Kaplan Posted by Soren Kaplan.

Soren Kaplan is a keynote speaker, author of the bestselling & award winning book, Leapfrogging, writer for FastCompany, faculty member in executive education at the Copenhagen Business


Fathers of Invention?  Innovative Dads Make Waves

Millennial fathers are reinventing parenting, and a variety of new products and services help them get the job done like never before.

 

Millennial dads. They’re unlike your father or grandfather. They’re redefining fatherhood – and influencing parenthood as a whole. Mostly because they don’t subscribe to traditional gender norms.They do a larger portion of the household work, spend more time with their kids, and they are more involved (and responsible) in the day to day care of their children.

According to the research*, nearly half (49%) of millennial dads are primarily responsible for planning play dates and other activities with their kids, as opposed to 23% of dads over the age of 35.

It’s no surprise that these new dads are bringing innovative ideas to parenting – and to the world through new products and services designed to disrupt traditional parenting norms.

 

Fatherly

Fatherly is the first publication of its kind. It’s a premier parenting resource solely designed for men. It’s a site with a bit of an edge that is as unconventional as the generation they speak to. They publish articles like On Talking to Kids About Porn, by Playboy’s chief content officer (a dad of two himself). Other articles include Hide-n-Seek tips from Navy SEALs, travel hacks from professional explorers, insider school advice from the Secretary of Education, and reviews about the best new toys out there.

According to Fatherly, the publication is for “men who understand that embracing what they’ve become doesn’t mean giving up who they are. Men who want to be great fathers without turning into cliches. Men who spent their formative years laughing at blogs about dads in short shorts, but who will never, ever wear short shorts themselves.”

Little Duck Organics

Zak Normandin, founder of the Brooklyn based kids’ snack and cereal company, Little Duck Organics, was inspired by his children to make snack time better. He “wanted kids to be exposed to creativity and innovation in the products they were consuming daily, and for their options to be healthy and free from the added junk that was common in the grocery store.” He says, “When I think back on what drove me to start Little Duck Organics, one of the big motivations was wanting to create that same experience that I had as a child for my own kids.” So he created healthy, kid friendly oatmeal and he developed plantable packaging. Instead of adding to landfills Mighty Oats cups are completely compostable, breaking down in six months time, with the outer cardboard being embedded with vegetable seeds that can be used to grow vegetables at home.

So kids get not only a healthy snack or meal, but also an experience with composting and gardening.

 

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Yo GeKI

Yo Geki is a line of lightweight cork furniture for kids that comes apart to become building blocks. This functional “toy” was developed by tech lawyer – Justin Call. Call was inspired to create Yo Geki blocks while building “forts” at home with his kids.

Call says that in building forts you are always looking for more pillows, blankets and cushions for materials to build bigger and better. His A-HA! Moment came in thinking ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have a chair or a couch where the whole thing came apart for big building blocks?’”

 

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KidsMe Feeder

The Kidsme Food Feeder allows babies to taste (and eat) solid food at an earlier age, helping them incorporate important vitamins and minerals into their diet. With the Food Feeder, little ones can easily and safely enjoy a variety of foods – making mealtimes a positive experience.

As a new father, KidsMe founder Herman Lo found that spoon-feeding could be challenging and tedious, and choking was a risk. He disliked where that the traditional, “one-way” spoon-feeding made his son a passive participant in his own feeding process.

After witnessing other parents having the same issues with feeding, Lo developed the KidsMe Food Feeder. The Food Feeder allowed his son to self-feed. Mealtimes became an enjoyable, shared experience where he could watch his son easily explore new tastes and textures.

KidsMe now offers a variety of feeding products.

 

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The Science of Fatherhood

Psychology researchers too often (and traditionally) focused their research on the role of mothers in children’s development. This why science writer Paul Raeburn wanted to delve into what role dads play in child development when it comes to raising children. The results of the research are as interesting as the innovative studies that helped uncover the roles fathers play at home, both socially and biologically.

In his book “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Overlooked Parent”, Raeburn asserts that a father’s role in children’s psychological development has been overlooked. His book uncovers the effects an active, present father has on his children. And there are some pretty groundbreaking research discoveries.

Some findings include that a father’s presence during his daughter’s childhood influences her sexual development, physically and psychologically. When fathers had a close relationship with their daughters in the first five to seven years of life, they engaged in sex at a later age and had a lower risk of teen pregnancy.

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This new wave of highly involved dads are already changing and shaping future generations. Not only by developing new products, but through innovative thinking that challenges gender roles and delivers experiences that promote children’s growth and development in the process.

The next mother of invention just might be a Millennial dad.

 

 

*According to Mintel