I want to start off with some staggering statistics about fatherhood in America. More than 1 in 4 children live without a father in the home. This number doesn’t always mean, the father is completely absent from the household; it might sometimes mean that he is simply not there enough for his children.
A child without a father in his or her life is:
- More likely to have behavioral problems
- More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol
- …and seven times more likely to become pregnant as a teen
The fact that you’re here tells me you’re not that kind of father. You want to bond with your children and create an everlasting relationship with them.
Between juggling careers, household responsibilities, and other family; it can be challenging to find the time, but it’s well worth it.
Here are some simple ways to make the most out of each minute with your children, regardless of their age.
1. Make Everything Into a Bonding Opportunity
I am a firm believer in getting your kids involved in whatever it is you’re doing. This tip works for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Let your kids help you with things around the house; let them express their independence by showing you how great they are.
For example, if you have a toddler, you can involve them in trimming the hedges by allowing them to pick up the clippings and put them in the bin. If you have a school-age child, you might want to have them help you dry the less fragile dishes and put them away.
I understand that sometimes we just want to get the work done so we can relax but letting your kids help shows them that you trust and respect them and you’re also bonding with them while getting your work done.
It’s a win/win.
2. Have Specific Dad Activities
When my younger son was a baby, he was difficult. He cried a lot, and simple tasks like giving him a bath became a stressful and anxiety-induced situation. Having separate jobs between my wife and I was the most effective way to limit the stress during this challenging time in our lives.
If you are trying to find a way to bond with your baby, you could use bath time as a special “daddy time.” Every day before bed, you give baby a bath, and that serves as your time to connect with your baby.
This tip works if your kids are older too.
If your child is a pre-teen, you could maybe make a fire every Friday night in the yard or ride bikes at the same time every week. Routine helps get your kids excited to spend time with dad.
3. Help With School
Helping with schoolwork is a great way to spend time with your kids while also accomplishing something important. I am a firm believer in sticking true to what works and following routines, so maybe you want to make homework a dad job. Every day, your kid knows that dad will help with homework when he gets home from work.
4. Father – Daughter/Son Dates
Just like you can never forget about your partner when you have children, you can’t forget to take your kids out alone and individually. If you have three kids, for example, it can seem difficult to take them out separately, but it’s incredibly beneficial to them.
One of your children might want to talk to you about something, but they don’t want everyone to know their business. Spending one on one time with each kid separately is an excellent way to “check-up” on them and make sure everything is okay.
This bonding time will not go unnoticed by your child, and if you can create a routine around it, they’ll always get excited when they know your date is coming soon.
5. Don’t Force Your Desires on Your Child
I have a great example to share here. My older son hates sports and anything involving a ball, he’ll run away and never get involved. My younger son is the opposite, and from the second he could sit up he wanted to push a ball back and forth.
They’re completely different kids, and that’s okay. I find it hard sometimes to accept that my older son doesn’t enjoy sports, and he may feel left out, but I cannot force him to play.
If you force your kids to do things you “think they will like” vs. what they actually like, they may not enjoy spending time with you.
Make sure you’re bonding with your kids by doing activities they enjoy so they look forward to time with dad.
I hope this article touched you in some way, and you understand the importance of a child’s relationship with their father. They need you in their life, and they need plenty of one-on-one time with you. Do whatever you need to do to find time in your day to spend time with your kids.