Advice Column

Power-Up Your ‘Hands On Dad’ Function

  • The Don Father
  • Category Advice Column

The detached dad, turning up his nose at parenting duties has changed dramatically over the years. Do you even get dad’s like this these days?

In a recent study which surveyed 3,881 fathers across America who lived at home with their families. 90% of 1,790 men with children aged under five, said they took on bathing, dressing and nappy changing duties, and 72% said they fed or ate with their children.

Get hands on from the beginning

Getting involved in the daily activities of your baby – dressing, calming, playing, bathing and nappy changing – is the best way to build your skills and confidence. These everyday activities also create lots of one-on-one time with your baby. Another bonus is that it gives your wife a well-deserved break. Trust me, I’m still learning the ins and outs of this parenting role, but I have quickly come to realize a few important things…

Learn to understand your baby

Babies give ‘cues’ or signals to what they need through their behaviour and body language. By really paying attention to your baby’s cues, over time you’ll learn how to work out what your baby needs.

Talk to your baby as often as you can

Communicate with your baby while you’re carrying or changing her. For example, ‘Let’s get this nappy changed’. ‘That feels better, doesn’t it?’ I have read that every word baby hears helps develop her language and learning. Telling stories, reading books or singing songs has the same effect. Bath time for us has turned into a mad karaoke session.

If baby is breastfed – Help with breastfeeding

Your attitude and support for breastfeeding is extremely important during this chapter. You could give practical support – another pillow, a back rub or a glass of water (tea and biscuits at 3am is our favourite, the extra kilos from them, not so much!)

Housework

We all hate it! Take charge and just get it done. This isn’t the time to dust behind the washing machine. Just make sure your house is liveable and that your wife is comfortable.

Educate yourself

One of the best ways to learn is by doing! And then there is Google of course. Google can be your best friend at times.

Get Out

Infants are surprisingly portable. Don’t be afraid to travel. Every outing gets easier and easier, trust me. You’ll get loads of attention too (Perfect ego boosting!)

I got some solid advice from experienced Power Dad’s Dyl and Dean, Power Couple Season 1 runners-up. Here is what they had to say.

Dyl:

“You have to create your own bonding time with a new baby.  Mom and child are so physically close that their connection is easy.  My thing was spending an hour every morning alone with Tai – walking, on the beach, driving, chatting – and he knew this was our time.  6 years later I can say it was the best thing I did as a new Dad.  Alone time with that little human is so good for your bond.

Also, there are no hard and fast rules to parenting, do what works for you.  There is so much advice out there on what you should and shouldn’t do, but the thing is, you have to find your own way to not only survive parenting, but enjoy it too.“

Dean:

“Be as patient as possible and give your undivided attention when they speak. Focus on praising and uplifting them positively when achieving anything big or small. A confident child can achieve anything!”

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