Dad Hacks: Five Ways to Be a Great Father
June 13, 2018
Fatherhood used to be a pretty limited thing, dads were not really that involved in their kid’s lives, especially in infancy. Things are changing, and research over the past 30 years has shown that the presence of a loving, active, involved Dad has many positive benefits for kids from increasing IQ to decreasing violence. Research is only 30 years old, because before that, scientists could not find enough men who were involved enough in the lives of their children to have an impact! Sad! Men today also want more than ever to have meaningful relationships with their kids. The best way to be a great Dad is to start from the beginning, with your newborn.
1. Time and Patience: You and baby are both new at this, and men tend to have less confidence than women with babies. Make time to be with your baby every day, babies need quantity time, “quality” time comes later. Schedule regular alone time for the two of you without the home parent to build your confidence as a parent. Turn off your phone, and step away from the devices and just be together. Be patient with both of you, because this is tough stuff!
2. Eye Contact: Infants are drawn to the human face and they are looking at eyes! They can only see about one foot away clearly, so stay close and smile at your little one and look into their eyes. Before you know it, you will be rewarded with a smile!
3. Baby Talk: There is a reason why baby talk is universal, it is building connection with your baby, and language skills for them. Da-Da and Ma-Ma are early sounds that babies can make. Talk to them, and talk back to them when they start talking to you!
4. Get Moving: Babies love motion and it is developmentally beneficial for them for their sense of balance, brain growth and more. Put your little one in a baby carrier of your choice and go for a walk, dance, do chores around the house (bonus points with baby and partner!). With this one, you can also make eye contact and talk to baby, all at the same time!
5. Diaper Duty: I am not kidding, change your fair share of diapers. If you are the parent who is away more, change more when you are home. You are bonding with your baby- use this time to make silly faces, sing funny songs, and make eye contact. Play “Wheels On The Bus” with baby’s feet, if you like. Another benefit, research shows that fathers who diaper have stronger, better, longer marriages!
Keep Your Promises: This maybe ought to go without saying, but strong bonds require trust that is built out of small interactions every day. Keep your word to your partner.
If you say you will be home at 6:00, be home at 6:00. Do the same for your child as they grow. Be a man your family can count on and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of love.