2. Inspiring Sibling Love
It's natural for the dad to spend extra time with an older sibling when the mom is caring for a new baby. But Volling's research finds that this can have benefits beyond giving a tired mom a break: In older kids, it may foster a willingness to share with and teach their younger siblings -- years later.
"When our second child, Emily, was born, she became 'Mommy's girl,' and our 3-year-old, Allison, became 'Daddy's girl,' " says Stephen Emick, of Allentown, PA. "Allison and I were always close, but now she really enjoys doing things with just me. But she's also willing to share her toys and play teacher with Emily."
"When a baby is being smothered with attention, it's important to make an older child feel she's special too," says Volling. "By being the center of her father's attention, the older child thinks she's getting a more equal distribution of love."