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7 ways to be a good dad

Father playing game of building blocks with his baby daughterParenting is not a job most people take lightly. Fathers sometimes do it extra tough, as they are not always as available to their children as they would like to be.

But, it can’t be forgotten that children still look to their fathers for love and nurturing, even if the time they spend together is limited.

As a father, you shouldn’t forget that you have many positive skills and attributes, and your child will benefit from having these actively demonstrated. You might want to write down your goals for being a father.

Seven important tips for good fathering are outlined below, that can be put into place straight away.

7 ways to be a good dad

1. Set a good example

Dads should always set a good example for their children to follow – role modelling. If you want your children to be gentle and caring, with empathy for others, then now is the time to start showing them what this looks like. Adult behaviour is heavily influenced by the behaviour of their own fathers.

2. Play with your children

Take the time to actively seek out your children and spend time with them. Children love to have their fathers fully immersed in the activities they enjoy. Dress up, role play, invite them to see that you have not lost touch with the child within you, you may be surprised to find that you actually enjoy yourself.

3. Maximise your time together

Try to maximise the amount of time spent with your children. You can encourage children to join in with many of your day-to-day activities. When you come home from work, invite your children to help you put your things away, or unpack your car. Invite them to have a drink of milk with you while you enjoy your cup of coffee. Try to eat meals with the children, or share a special dessert with them.

In the car, or on the bus on the way home from work, try to debrief yourself. Wind down from your work activities, and begin to focus on what you will do with your family when you get home.

4. Plan ‘special days’

Plan a special day, or part day, every so often, that involves only you and your child. Allow your child to choose the activities they would like to do with you, and allow yourself to enjoy the fact that your child is treasuring every moment of this day, even if you wouldn’t have chosen these activities yourself.

5. Recognise your child’s achievements

Learn to recognise your children’s achievements and accomplishments. This is the first step towards creating a positive parenting environment for your children. Focus on the good things your child does, and they will make greater efforts to repeat these good behaviours in order to reap your positive input.

6. Know what your child enjoys

Learn more about the things your child enjoys. You may have to talk with their mother, or the child carer/kindy teacher. Fathers can sometimes feel as though they have to find something different to do with their children. But children are happiest when they are participating in activities they enjoy, and have some one they love enjoying it with them.

7. Make it Father’s Day all year

Most importantly, make it Father’s Day every day. Father’s Day gives your children a chance to show you how much they appreciate and love you. Take some of this love and carry it with you for the other 364 days of the year, and feed it back to your children.

It has often been said that by the time a man reaches the end of his life he is not wishing he did more for his employer, or wishing he had a better golf handicap, he is wishing he spent more time with his children and family.

– by psychologist, child & family therapist Frances Wolff

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