Being the best dad you can be doesn’t mean living up to some ridiculous standard or being like the image on a greeting card. It’s the simplest things that can make you the best dad you can be. Showing your kids you are there for them, being silly with them, and making time for them are easy ways you can be a loving dad to your little ones. Here are 10 things every great dad knows is important.
Being Present is the Best Gift
Making time for your children is one of the best gifts you can give them. Every dad is busy with work and other commitments but taking the time to create one-on-one experiences with your children is what they will remember most. You are what your child needs the most.
Spending time with them without your phone, computer, or watching TV, even if it’s just for a short time will mean the world to them. Just be present, have fun, be silly, and show them that they are your top priority.
Dad Jokes Rule
We’ve all heard those terrible dad jokes before. Kids need laughter. Children need to see their dad being light-hearted, playful and having fun. Kids will be lighter and more playful in return. When a child only sees their dad stressed out and overextended, they will pick up on your energy.
So, lighten up and check your baggage at the door. It’s okay to be silly with your children. Your dad jokes peak before they hit middle school, so enjoy it them you can, dad.
Little Girls Shouldn’t Be Treated Differently Than Little Boys
The best dads of girls know they don’t have to walk on eggshells or treat their daughters like they are made of glass. Girls are tough and they deserve your respect. If you play catch with your son, you can play with your daughter. If you are rough and tumble with your son, include your daughter, as well.
Girls who grow up being treated equally by their fathers will grow up demanding the same as women in the workplace and at home. So, show your daughter that she is just as good as the boys are by including her in any activity she enjoys, no matter her gender.
Kids Learn by Example
Kids are like sponges. They see and hear a lot more than we think. If they see their father taking an active role in helping around the house, they will see this as the norm. So, lead by example and show your children that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to responsibilities around the house.
It isn’t 1950 anymore and our kids should see an equitable division of household labor. Outside of the home, show your kids how to use good manners and being kind. Every activity is an opportunity to lead by example, and the best dads know this.
Dads Can Play Dress Up, Too
Dads who let their inner child out and play with their kids will feel a much stronger bond with them. Even the manliest of men can put on a wide-brimmed hat and sit down to afternoon tea. Wear that policeman outfit or fairy wings with pride.
The look on their faces when they see their dad dressed like a superhero or a princess will be priceless. So, let both of your imaginations soar. The possibilities are endless when it comes to make believe.
The Best Dads Put Their Phones Down
Putting down your cell phone is one of the best gifts you can give your kids. Social media and work emails aren’t going anywhere. No one will miss you for 20 minutes while you put your cell phone down and spend time with your kids. Kids know when you are scrolling through your phone and only half-listening to them.
So, give them more credit and show them how much they mean to you. Put down your cell phone and play outside, read a story, go for a walk, or just have a quick catch-up conversation. Your undivided attention is invaluable.
The Best Dads Read One More Story
Bedtime can be a stressful time. Getting your kids to settle down after a busy day isn’t always easy. Even though it can be tiring to wrangle up kids and march through the bedtime routine night after night, you can make it a time you both cherish.
Reading to your kids is one of the best ways to wind down and share some quiet moments at the end of the day. Kids who are exposed to reading at a young age have been shown to have a better vocabulary and will be more likely to keep reading later in life.
Patience is a Virtue
Kids can be tiring. They know how to push your buttons. It’s amazing how long putting on a shirt can take when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning. Staying calm and not losing your cool can seem like an Olympic achievement some days. While you may want to scream at the top of your lungs, showing some self-control can teach your kids more than you think.
Keeping your cool and not losing your temper will show your kids that you are in control. The world is a big, stressful place for a child. As a dad, you should be their safe place and their rock. Show them you’re in control and you can handle any meltdown or toy they throw at you.
Listen to Your Kids
Take some time out of your busy day to just listen to your children. Take your kids on a walk and let them open up to you. Use a ride in the car as a time to ask your kids about their day or anything going on in their lives.
The more you are there to just listen to them without judgment or interference, the more they may open up to you. You are your child’s first lifeline. As they grow, show them you’ll always be someone they can count on to listen.
Be a Good Co-Parent
Whether you are with your partner romantically or not, you should always show your children you respect their mother or other caregivers. Speak kindly of them and show them that you can work together as a united team. If you are married to your child’s mother, lead by example and show your kids what a supportive partner should look like. Keep arguments at bay until your kids aren’t present. They don’t need your stress on top of their own.
Show your kiddos that you help your partner, respect them, and back them up when it comes to parenting. Relationships and co-parenting can be hard, but the more stability you show your children, the better off you will all be.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to be the best dad you can be. It’s a matter of setting priorities and recognizing that your children won’t be children forever. So, have fun with them, listen to them and be the dad they brag about to their friends.