Auckland dads are stepping up. Research shows they're increasingly involved in raising their kids, including a rise in the trend of stay-at-home dads and increasingly taking on roles such as bathing and putting their wee ones to bed.

The study, by Dr Louise Keown from the University of Auckland's Parenting Research Group, features data collected from 94 Auckland families who have kids aged between 4 and 7. The responses were collected between 2007 and 2011.

Keown revealed some of the reasons the dads are helping out more on the home front include:

• Women are more involved in paid employment, resulting in a shift in what Keown calls "father involvement".

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• Women expect fathers to be more hands on.

• Dads want to be more involved.

• Increased flexibility in the workplace has allowed blokes to work from home or have more flexible hours that allow both parents to have more time to be involved in raising their children.

• Some dads who are self-employed are choosing to work entirely from home making it easier to share child care roles.

Keown says she found dads were quite involved with child care tasks like bathing and putting their kids to bed at age 4.

She noted when the kids went to school, mums would often increase their work hours and dropped back on the amount of time they spent with their kids compared with when they were very young.

Dads stayed "steady" in their involvement and, if anything, became more involved as the kids got a little older.

The dads relished doing things like taking the kids to sports activities, watching TV with them and even playing on the computer.

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"I think it's great that many fathers are highly involved in bringing up their children and their kids really benefit from that," says Keown.

Fathers' love for their children, Insight p18-19