Dads are so important in their children’s lives – from day one (if you missed the post on why dads are so important, go here). However, many dads don’t know what is expected of them, or how to be their best. Don’t worry! All parents – moms and dads alike – struggle to find their place and feel comfortable. It is a process that gets easier over time.
In the meantime, we’ve sourced some tips from Steve and Shaaron Biddulph’s book called “Raising a happy child in the precious years from birth to six”:
– Make Time
In today’s society, this is a big one. Many fathers work long hours in order to provide for their families, but they do need to make the time to be with their children, every day if possible.
Try to negotiate flexi-time with your employer, or go into work late two mornings a week. Perhaps you can get home early and work later after the kids are in bed?
Whatever your approach, make sure that your time spent with your children is packed with opportunity – so switch off that TV and take it outside – give your children 100% when you are around.
– Start Early
Get involved in your baby’s care – early bonding between father and baby has a huge impact later down the line. So, change those nappies, give them a bath, get involved in feeding and dressing. Be as involved as possible from the very first days.
– Be Warmer
Give lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles. Read to your children, or sing them songs. If you weren’t given much affection as a child by your father – now is the time to learn how special this can be.
– Lighten Up
See your time with your children as a joy and not a chore or obligation. By spending time with them, you will start to enjoy them and get to know them. Fathers are often serious, carrying heavy burdens of responsibility and these feelings can often carry over into childcare – look forward to your time with your children and enjoy them.
The goal for you would be to see your time with your children as a ‘stress-reliever’ and not a ‘stress-builder’, and if it’s not like that for you, then see it as a catalyst for you to change whatever you need to in order to make it work for you.
– Heavy Down
Some dads fit comfortably into the ‘good-time fun person’, leaving all the heavy work to the moms. Get involved in chores, homework, discipline, decisions on schooling and the future. Fathers can make a huge difference when it comes to decision making. Be willing to carry the load when it comes to making final decisions in your house. Men are generally less emotionally-charged when it comes to making decisions, and this helps to stabilise the emotional climate in your house. It also gives your child a model on how to deal with uncertainties.
– Don’t do it alone
Be on the lookout for support from other dads or from family members. If being an involved father makes you feel alienated, try to actively pursue friendships that support the role that you are playing in your children’s lives.
– Be a proud dad
You are one of a kind – and to your children, you are their only dad. Be proud of the job you’re doing and be proud of your children. You are their super-hero.
Words: Loren Stow
when we know better… we do better
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*Practica Parents: Practica Dads report that they prefer doing activities that involve challenges (like those listed under gross and fine motor development). They have explained how writing a list of games on a piece of paper and putting the relevant toys from the box aside, allows them to plan ahead and be prepared to have fun with their children.
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