Father’s involvement in childcare is crucial for children to reach their potential

Srdjan Djukic from Zubin Potok takes part in activities with his two daughters every day

Leonora Aliu
Djukic family from Zubin Potok
22 June 2022

Zubin Potok, 1 June – The early years of childhood are a time of great opportunity. This is the time when children’s brains develop the quickest, as they interact with their environment and others.

Here is where the role of the parents, both of them, comes in. Children’s brains, and abilities, can best develop with parental support and guidance.

Unfortunately, data shows us that the involvement of both parents in hands-on parenting in Kosovo is still low. According to the latest MICS data, overall 63 percent of children 2-4 years old engage with adult household members in activities that provide early stimulation, while mothers are four times more likely than fathers to engage with their children aged 2–4 years in activities that promote learning. 

Srdjan Djukic, a father of two young girls from Zubin Potok municipality, has challenged this trend. He is a role model who shows how important fathers’ engagement is in the lives of their children. Alongside his wife and two daughters Nina, 2 and Elena, 4, he took part in the June 1 celebration for International Children’s Day, organized by UNICEF in collaboration with the Zubin Potok municipality.

“It is important because we provide guidance to our children on how to choose the right path in life, and also create for them a safe and healthy space for their development from the very beginning,” Srdjan said.

Srdjan is a primary school music teacher and believes that art and play are essential to children’s early development. He makes sure that he reads, eats, and plays games with his daughters every day.

“I work from early in the morning which means that during the day my wife is more engaged with Nina whereas Elena goes with me to school. Even so, I try to spend 2.5 hours a day with my daughters playing educational games, playing with toys etc.,” he says.  

Elena at 1st of June event in Zubin Potok

Maja, his wife, says that it is important for both parents to be active and involved in parenting.  

“Even though he is engaged and very busy at work he always finds a way to spend time with our daughters every day, and that is something that I see as an important act from his side because children need both parents in the learning process,” Maja said.

Maja is a stay-at-home mother, and it is very important for her to have some time for herself, since she is very engaged all day with house duties.

“I do not work (outside the home), so this is why I am more engaged with Nina from the morning until the end of the day, but the presence and involvement of my husband after work helps me to also have time for myself,” she said.

In a statement released on June 1, UNICEF emphasized that, like in many places around the world, children in Kosovo are still coping with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reversed decades of progress on access to health, education and nutrition services as well as threatened the mental well-being of children and parents.  

Nina at 1st of June event in Zubin Potok

The event of the 1st of June, which also marks the beginning of the Parenting Month, brought together 500 children and parents from pre-schools and primary schools from Zubin Potok municipality and to promote the importance of positive parenting and community support for early childhood development

Parental support during all times, especially during difficult times, is crucial, alongside investments and equitable government policies.  Investments that support early childhood development lay the foundation of transformational improvement in outcomes for young children and their families. Digital innovation to support parents, such as Foleja parenting application, provide targeted support for parents and encompass all developmental domains of children, thus enhancing the understanding of the critical importance of a supportive, healthy, and stimulating environment.