11 tips to be a better dad
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Being a dad can be a wonderful thing, once you get past the bewildering thoughts of ways you can screw it up, right?!
Maybe you’ve just started out your career as a new dad or maybe you would like to improve on the one you already have, but you are fearful of being a failure. It comes with the job – unfortunately, what doesn’t come with the job is a simple set of instructions!
So, you have your own successful business, or a pretty good 9 to 5, but you’re still just “mom’s” assistant. FatherSa+Work.com reports that 70% of working fathers have a difficult time balancing their professional and personal responsibilities. It is so easy to get caught up in work and the rest of life. Yeah, you can run your own business, but can’t dress a four year old?! But, remember, dads do have skills they never use at home!
Fatherhood can be complicated, and if you’re winging it, like most dads, we have a few tips to help you become an even more awesome dad than you already are:
- Share the load with your baby mama. Don’t look at anything as “mom’s” duties. Don’t be one of those dads. If you’re the dad of a baby, this is the perfect time to bond with your child. Change her diapers, feed her and rock her to sleep in the middle of the night. Leap at the chance to do these things, because that’s how you start a life-long relationship with your child.
- Take care of yourself. Give your kids the gift of your health. Eat healthy and exercise regularly. Do you enjoy drinking and smoking? Guess what? It’s not good for them and you’re setting an example with everything you do. Take care of yourself to be able to take care of them.
- Protect them.There are many ways to do this. Child-proof your home, teach them good safety habits, set a good example by using your seatbelt, make sure they use a car seat if below a certain age and weight etc. Financial protection is also important. Have life insurance, car insurance and an emergency fund (you’re definitely going to need the latter!).
- Be big. You don’t have to play catch all the time, but be a presence in their lives. Ask them about their day, every day. Listen to their ideas; get to know what is important to them. On weekends, spend as much time as you can with them, it won’t be long before their grown and no longer want to spend time with you!
- Be small. Say that you are sorry when need be. There will be plenty of things to apologize for; anger, inattention or just a lack of whatever. Mean it. Be sorry.
- Love, love, love them. This should be the centre of your dad operating philosophy. Above all, show your kids that you love them. When you’re upset, instead of yelling, show them love. When they’re upset, show them love. When they least expect it, show them love. Everything else is just details.
- Read to them. Whether you’re a reader or not, reading to your kids (from the time they’re babies onward) is crucial. It prepares them for a lifetime of learning.
- Teach them self-esteem. Show them that you value them by spending time with them. Praise and encourage, don’t reprimand and discourage.
- Teach them about finance. No, you’re your one year old doesn’t need to know about index funds, but teach them the value of money from an early age. How to save to reach a goal, and maybe later, how to earn money and how to manage it properly.
- Help them to follow their own path, not you’re road-not-taken. Just because you didn’t make the first rugby team in high school doesn’t mean Stan junior has to!
- Love their mom. When mom’s happy, the kids are happy. And dad will be happy too!
Finally: Cut yourself some slack. Having read this far means that you care about being a great dad. When you fall down, just make sure you get back up again … and keep trying. Sometimes “good enough” is plenty.