Recently published in the academic journal Leisure Sciences, a study by Lydia Buswell and BYU professors Ramon Zabriskie and Neil Lundberg found that if fathers really want to do what's best for their families, they should come home and play a board game with their spouse and kids.
To determine what creates optimal family leisure satisfaction, the study used "core" and "balance" leisure activities. Core activities are home-based, like playing games, eating meals together or reading. Balance activities are characterized by bigger events like vacations.
Children and fathers took the survey and answered questions on the different types of leisure activities and how satisfied they made them feel.
Buswell, Zabriskie and Lundberg discovered that core family leisure satisfaction, doing fun activities together at home, is what makes families feel the most united and connected.
This study seems to simply confirm what good parents already know, that their attention and time are more important than extravagant toys or outside activities.
An activity that can take place at a regular time on a daily basis without setting a budget back too far is going to be easier and more enjoyable than a week or two at an unfamiliar or pricey location. It also works better.
If this new science helps the slackers understand the value of playing Monopoly at home, or just sitting down to eat dinner as a family, it will have done some good.
Listen up, Dad: You can save a bunch of money. Instead of taking the family to the Bahamas or Disneyland, just play Candyland or read a book with your kids. Then treat yourself to a motorcycle or jet-ski, or to that next gun you really, really "need" for your collection.