Dads play an important role in raising their children. A father brings a new perspective to parenting. Children with many loving adults in their family become more well-rounded.
As we write this article, we realize that there are many different types of families. Some might be intergenerational, some might have two parents of the same gender and others might be single-parent families. We like to celebrate diversity but also want to focus on why adult males matter to children. Please know that your family does not need to be traditional to be extraordinary.
Here are some ways that parents can support their children, particularly dads or loving male adults.
- Pay attention. Children have a lot of fun things to say and do. Being with kids brings out the kid in you. Listen when they talk and engage in conversation. Find hobbies you like to do together.
- Cuddle. Sometimes the best thing you can do with your child is to lay down together and cuddle on the couch. The warmth of your body lets a child know that you are there for them.
- Protect them. Tell your child that you will keep her safe. Show her by role modeling safe behaviors yourself. Wear a helmet while biking, use your seat belt in the car, and eat healthy foods. Provide him with protection from strangers or when he is in uncomfortable situations. Talk with her about her fears. Keep her away from unsafe situations.
- Financial protection. Kids don’t always see this but can feel it. It is important your children learn about money and how to be safe with money. For instance, don’t go out and flash your money to strangers. Help your older children understand how money pays for the home where you live, the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Do this in a gentle way so children can learn about money without being burdened by it.
- Help around the house. Show your children that both men and women do chores. Share the responsibilities of diapering, cleaning, doing laundry or dishes. Your child will learn from your example that it takes everyone’s help to run a household.
- Read to your children. Children love books and will enjoy reading if they see you reading. Men read in different tones and use different voices than women. Role model to your children that you like to learn and take an interest in their books. When you are reading, point out your favorite parts or pictures and explain why. You can also create your own stories about people in your life or make up funny stories just to laugh.
- Give hugs and kisses daily. Children love the affection from male role models. Kids should be hugged and kissed daily, ideally numerous times. Snuggle together before bed and say ,“I love you!” These three words can never been spoken too much.
- Encourage your child to follow his dreams. You can encourage him by learning about what that dream is and listening. For example, if he wants to be a doctor, ask him what will it take to be a doctor and together research the steps in the process. You can also ask younger children about short term goals- maybe they want to paint a picture, play soccer or ride a pony. Whatever the dream is, find a way to support your child to accomplish their dream.
We greatly encourage you to take time to get to know and love your child. You might find it is the best adventure ever. There is no time like the present to start!
© Let’s Talk Kids, 2015