How to be a Awesome Dad - in my opinion anyway!
I'm often left thinking about whether i'm a good dad or not, i know i certainly try to be, and i'm sure we all ask ourselves the same questions on occasion. With this in mind i thought i'd share my views on what i think makes a good dad.
Put their interests first, always. Do you enjoy drinking or smoking? Guess what — it’s not good for them, and you’re setting an example with everything you do.
Protect them. As a dad, one of your main roles is protector. There are many ways you need to do this. Safety is one: 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 & weight, etc. But financial protection is also important: have life insurance, car insurance, an emergency fund, a will.
Spend your spare time with them. When we get home from work, often we’re tired and just want to relax. But this is the only time we have with them during the weekdays, often, and you shouldn’t waste it. Take this time to enjoy their company. On weekends, devote as much time as possible to them. While work may be your passion, it won’t be long before they’re grown and no longer want to spend time with you. Take advantage of these years. The thing kids want most from their dads is their time.
Give them hugs. Dads shouldn’t be afraid to show affection. Kids need physical contact, and not just from mummy. Snuggle with them, hug them, love them.
Play with them. Go outside and play sports. Do a treasure hunt. Have a pillow fight. Play cars or dolls or make believe with them. Don’t just watch TV. Show them how to have fun.
Do the “mum” stuff. Things that are traditionally considered “mum” duties are not just for mums anymore — changing dirty bums, feeding, bathing. Dads should help out as much as they can, sharing these types of duties equally if possible. And in fact, if you’re a dad of a baby, this is the perfect time to bond with your child. You should leap at the chance to do these things, because that’s how you start a life-long close relationship with your child.
Read to them. This is one of the most important things you can do for your child. First of all, it’s so much fun. Kids books are really cool, and it’s great when you can share something this wonderful with your child. Second, you are teaching them one of the most fundamentally important skills (reading) that will pay off dividends for life. And third, you are spending time with them, you’re sitting or lying close together, and you are enjoying each other’s company.
Stand by mum. Don’t contradict their mother in front of them, don’t fight with her in front of them, and most definitely don’t ever abuse her. How you treat their mother affects their self-esteem, and the way they will treat themselves and women when they grow up. Be kind and respectful and loving of their mother. And always work as a team.
Teach them self-esteem. Maybe this should be No. 1. Well, these aren’t in any order, but this is one of the most important points. There is nothing you can do that is better than giving them high self-esteem. How do you do this? A million ways, but mainly by showing them (not telling them) that you value them, by spending time with them, by talking and listening to them, by praising things they do, by teaching them (not telling them) how to be competent. Praise and encourage, don’t reprimand and discourage.
Teach them about finances. This is a point often missed in articles about dadhood. You might not need to teach your 1-year-old about taxes and ISAs, but from an early age, you can teach them the value of money, how to save money to reach a goal, and later, how to earn money and how to manage money properly. You don’t want your child to go into the world knowing as little as you did, do you?
Be good to yourself. You shouldn’t give up your entire life when you become a dad. You need to take care of yourself, give yourself some alone time, and some time with your mates, in order to be a great dad when you’re with your kids. Also take care of your health — eat healthy, exercise — because 1) you can’t take care of your kids if you’re always ill, 2) you are teaching your kids how to be healthy for life, and 3) you want to enjoy those Grandkids someday.
Be good to the mummy. This isn’t the same as No. 8 — you should be good to their mum even when they’re not looking. Take her to dinner, help with chores around the house, give her some time alone and look after the kids while she goes out, show affection to her, give her little surprises. Because when mummy’s happy, the kids are happy. And dad will be happy too!