Dads, you matter. It’s not just about showing up for the big milestone moments or fun holidays spent together–although those are definitely important too. Being a dad is ultimately a 24/7 job, and you need to know just how important your steady, daily presence is to your children.
Working-from-home thanks to the pandemic may have made it a tad easier to spend those quiet day-to-day moments with your children as they get about their daily lives too. But now that life seems to be going back to pre-Covid levels of normal, does that mean that you have to give up being that all-important Dad in your kids’ lives? Not to fear, here are five simple but practical ways you can continue to stay involved.
1. Have meals together whenever you can
It’s true, a family that eats together stays together. Mealtimes are important, and the family dining table is an important place for everyone to come together at the end of a busy day and eat together. Prioritise family dinners and try your best to arrange your schedule to make this work, it will really go a long way as the children grow up.
2. Talk to your kids
Look them in the eye as you talk to them and put your device away so they know you are truly listening. Ask them questions. Be open in sharing with them nuggets of your day or snippets of your own childhood. Fathers relate differently to their children than mothers, and children gain greatly from having real conversations with their dads.
3. Bedtime is important
It may be tempting to just turn off the lights, shut the door and head outside to resume work. And sometimes, it really can’t be helped. But whenever you can, slow down the pace and spend the 30 minutes before they sleep being there with them, telling bedtime stories , sharing jokes, exchanging hugs, tucking them in and kissing them goodnight. These little moments help your kids know that you are there for them at the end of each day.
4. Hold them tight
Cuddling a baby is rather instinctive, but don’t let the hugs or hand-holding stop as they grow older. Of course, when your kids are older, they can tell you when they would rather not receive a hug, and you should always respect that. But keeping the physical affection ongoing is an important part of fatherhood. It’s a way of tangibly showing your children that you care, that you’re there for them. In fact, a new scientific study has shown that affection from Dads may help children grow up more satisfied with their lives.
5. Explore new places together
While it may be impossible to do this everyday, new experiences truly bond you in ways like no other. You could make it a point to check out new parks or try new activities together with your child every weekend–whatever it is, they’ll feel safe knowing you are there with them, encouraging them to try new things with the safety of your presence.