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Getting Dad to Doctor's Visits

While most dads are there to take their children to the doctor in an emergency or if Mom can't make it, they rarely sign up for checkup duty, says a study from the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute. That's too bad, because research shows that a father's involvement in a child's life can help with learning, behavior, and growth. Ways you can persuade him to go:

Explain why it's important. Many dads don't understand that visits to the doctor are valuable in sickness and in health. By learning that his child is hitting developmental milestones, or what to get ready for in the coming months (like childproofing), he'll be more engaged as a parent.

Give him support. "The fathers in our study were interested in their children's health, but they lacked confidence at the pediatrician's office," says study coauthor Craig Garfield, M.D. Going together might make it easier  -- just don't second-guess him every time he speaks up.

Encourage him to rearrange his work schedule. Once you've helped him understand why he should go, he may be more willing to ask his boss for the time he needs. If not, or if work prevents it, he can still be involved by writing down his concerns for you to bring along to the appointment, or by being the one to call or e-mail the doctor with questions.