Contributed by Jason at Ninja Dads Tribe, visit www.ninjadadstribe.com to read more articles like this!
For anyone not used to it, looking after kids for a day or night might be a daunting experience.
You alone will be responsible for their health, welfare and entertainment. You’ll have to feed them, play with them, chat with them, get them to sleep and deal with any incidents that may occur during the day or night.
If you’re not used to it that could all appear a little scary. Conversely it could appear very easy, but if this is the case you’re likely to be surprised!
As someone who’s left the corporate world behind to become a stay at home dad I’ve had to overcome the extremes of trepidation and over confidence.
It hasn’t been without its ups and downs but, for me, time spend with the kids is the most valuable time I spend. And I encourage all Dads to experience the pure joy it will bring.
There are lots of ‘reasons’ why many Dads don’t get involved. Maybe they see it as the mother’s or nanny’s role. Maybe work commitments mean they’re out of the house all week and shattered at weekends.
But there are also loads of reasons why Dads should invest time with their children. Countless studies show how kids with an engaged and involved father are more confident, healthier and do better in academic, artistic and sporting activities.
According to Fira the benefits are long lasting;
“Children of involved fathers are more likely to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement, career success, occupational competency, better educational outcomes, higher educational expectations, higher educational attainment, and psychological well being.”
So, if you’re a Dad who isn’t that involved I encourage you to take a deep breath and give it a go. Take a day and/or night and spend it with the kids. Let Mum do her own thing and take on the challenge.
Here’s some tips to help make it all go well.
- Be Safe – Make sure you know where all the kid’s medicines and first aid stuff is kept and make sure you know what to use if, for example, your child has a reaction to a bee sting.
- Be Prepared – Plan and prepare (if necessary) meals that are favourites for your kids. It makes meal times so much easier if you put their favourite food in front of them and they’ll love you for it!
- Be Present – Put the phone and tablet away. Focus on the kids and don’t be distracted by calls, messages and alerts. You can catch up later when they’re sleeping.
- Be engaged – If you’re travelling or having idle time, chat with the kids. Ask them questions and tell them things. Share your thoughts and experiences from when you were a child and encourage them to open up. This is your big opportunity to find out more about their lives.
- Be Fun – Join in with their play. Become a kid again and laugh with them. Let your imagination run wild and your inhibitions go.
- Suggest Don’t Tell – If you’re planning a day out give them some choices of where to go, but let them decide. If there’s indecision or opposing views flip a coin as a fair solution.
- Set Limits – Let them decide what to do but let them know of any boundaries or time limits. Tell them when they’ll be eating and going to bed, and give them reminders as those times approach.
- No Screen Time – Unless you’re all playing a Wii game because it’s raining, put the technology away. Overseeing your kids playing on iPads, Phones, computers or games consoles does not count!
- Expect Some Mess – This is not the day to be house, garden or clothing proud. Let the kids play, get dirty and messy. There’s showers, vacuums and washing machines to sort the mess out.
- Be Creative – You don’t have to spend a fortune taking the kids to a theme park for the day. There’s loads of things you can do with very little expense. Visit the local park or leisure centre. Go for a walk or cycle in the country or explore the town or city. Just be creative and imaginative. Tell stories of the history of the place, go on a hunt for insects or animals. Get a map and let the kids plan and navigate the route.
The benefits of children having an engaged and involved father are proven and well documented, but with the demands and distractions of modern life it’s not easy to ‘be there’.
By taking some time out every now and then, Dads can build a strong emotional bond and create memories that their kids will smile about for years to come.
As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
And so could your kids.
Go for it!
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