With Father’s day approaching, I’ve been thinking about how lucky my kids are to have formed such strong bonds with not only their dad, but their bonus (step) dad, and their Papa (my dad) as well. Like any relationship, the relationships between dads and kids require nurturing. I realize not every household has a dad in it, and I feel it should be said that this advice applies to every parent, not just dads, but since it is Father’s day, I’m writing about them. :)
My dad set a great example
Growing up my dad made time for each and every one of his six kids. When I was very little, and when I only had one other sibling, he would save the dessert from his lunch and give it to us as a treat when he got home from work. We would race to his lunchbox as he walked in the door and riffle through it to find what he had saved that day. As we grew and there were more than two of us to split the treat between, he started buying Starbursts to keep in his lunchbox, so there would be enough to go around. Now that we are grown up and some of us have kids of our own, he still keeps Starbursts in his lunchbox for his grandkids. I feel very fortunate to have a dad who realized the importance of investing in and connecting with his kids.
My husband makes time
Between a busy travel schedule and working long hours when he is home, my husband has a finite amount of down time. It means a lot to me that finding time to nurture his relationships with each individual kiddo is of utmost importance to him. These are just a few of the ways my husband does a great job of staying connected with our kids:
- Trips to Pot Belly- This is my son’s favorite place to eat (I promise we’re working on expanding his palate!), so my husband takes him on special trips, just the two of them. They call it their “bro date.”
- Zoo dates- We are lucky enough to have a great, free zoo in our city and we live within walking distance. My son loves animals (almost as much as Pot Belly), so this is another regular “bro date.”
- Movie dates- Our oldest is 16, and still wants to hang out with her parents, so we are trying to take advantage of that. My husband takes her to a movie and then they can discuss after.
- Daddy and daughter days- Our 12yr old lives in Juneau, AK during the school year, so when we have her all summer, my husband always schedules at least one full day that she plans. It usually involves a museum, hanging out downtown and a picnic at Millennium Park.
It can sometimes be difficult for fathers to connect to their babies when they are newborns, because infants are dependent upon mom for so much in the beginning. Father’s can feel a bit disconnected after being away at work all day, while mom is on maternity leave, and not participating in much of the daily routine. Establishing a routine for dad is very important from the beginning. As kids grow, it is equally important to nurture that bond through special outings or events with your kids. Each family has their own dynamic and finds what works for them eventually. The important thing is creating time and committing.
We love having dads participate in infant massage classes and empower them with some tools to better help them connect with their babies. Check out our upcoming class schedule for working parent friendly classes and workshops. If you're still looking for the perfect gift for the new dad in your life, a gift certificate for infant massage is a great way to go!