Making Fatherhood Fun
By Dr. John King
Life is an adventure that needs to be lived. It’s the same with fathering.
I think we have made fatherhood sound too serious. Your kids just want to have fun. Give them what they want. Here are some ways that fun Dads can get the most out of each stage of their kids’ childhood. Even if you’re busy with a career, there’s still plenty of time to get involved.
Newborn to Crawling
Bath times are great. Blow bubbles on their belly. Tickle them. Feeding times can be really fun times. Life at this stage is all about segments: five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Grab some segments of baby’s day and have some fun.
They will interact most with their mother at this stage. But if you do not discipline yourself to get involved early, you’ll find it more difficult later in their life.
Crawl with them. That’s right. Lie down on the floor and crawl with
them. Let them crawl over you.
They’ll love it if you get down to their level to be with them, banging
balls on tables and floors. Start to wrestle and play. You’ll notice their
personality emerge. You’ll see what frustrates them and how they deal with problems. You’ll start to develop a matrix of understanding to draw on in later years.
Walking to Preschool
At this age it’s all about colors, coloring, lots of paint, mess and mud,
running and tumbling, and kicking balls.
This is when you start them reading. Sit with them and get them started. Show them how to sit down and quietly read. It’s so much better than just having the DVD or TV playing all the time in the background. Read them a story before they go to bed, even if it’s just pointing at the pictures. But realize that what you’re doing is teaching them the value of books and getting them into the very rewarding habit of reading. Since our kids were three years old we put them to bed with books. Now, later in life, they put themselves to bed with books.
This is when you start interacting with them and their friends. It’s a time of outdoor activities, sports, kiddie farms, flying kites, fairs and fetes.
You also get involved in their wonderful world of imagination. Build
them a tent underneath the coffee table, or a tent in the backyard for
the weekend. If it’s raining, put the tent up in the lounge room. Or
move the TV and DVD player into the kids’ room for a day and
spend the whole rainy weekend in bed eating with them, cooking and
watching movies. This stage is about quantity time, not quality time. The more they get, the more they want. So give it to them. You don’t have them for ever.
Eight to 14 Years Old
This is an age when sports are pretty important, so you’re going along,
watching them, and encouraging them.
Actively seek things they’re interested in. Help them excel at those
Dad and daughter having dates; Dad and son having dates: take them out and model appropriate behavior.
Volunteer as a weekly coach on the local sports team your child plays for.
With sports or activities, it doesn’t matter what they choose; just find something your child enjoys and then encourage them as they do it. If it’s reading, encourage them to be a reader. If it’s a sport, encourage them to play. If it’s music, encourage them to get loud.
This is the time to find positive anchors for your child’s self-esteem. At this age their eyes are moving outwards from their family towards the wider world. So in a world full of negativity, you need to find a beacon of light for them to focus on. Help them find something they can be good at and enjoy with your support.
Want more tips for fathers? Check out Helping Guys Become Men, Husbands, and Fathers by Dr. John King.
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Excerpted from Helping Guys Become Men, Husbands, and Fathers by Dr. John King. Published by Destiny Image. Used by permission.
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