It seems like Mother’s Day gets all the attention. Of course, mothers should be celebrated for all they do—which is a lot. But what of fathers? Don’t they do a lot for their children as well? Sure, a lot of fathers spend a good portion of their days away from home, working to support their family. That in and of itself is a testament to how much he loves them.
But there is more to being a good father. If you are worried that in the short time you are with your kids that you aren’t doing enough, take heart. Most every father has the same worry. So try not to worry so much. Instead, focus on what you can do. Here are 10 tips that will help you be the best father you can be.
1. Be a good husband
You may be surprised to hear this, but putting your wife first is by far the best way you can be a good father. Why? Because you are showing your child how a good relationship works by example. Nothing speaks more to a child than actually seeing how something works.
When you put your marriage first, you are sending a message to your child that it is important to you. That child will grow up knowing you love your wife, and your child will see the results of that on your wife’s face and in her actions.
2. Be a good person
Again with that example thing. Your child is always watching you, seeing how you act in different situations. Your child needs to see how you act in tough situations so they can model that behavior, too. If you are a good person who helps others, follows the law, is honest, and are kind, then you will no doubt be a good father in the process. You’ll be way ahead in bringing up a good citizen just like yourself.
3. Teach your child to work
Someday when your child leaves home and goes out on his own, what will really mean the most? A work ethic. Your child will need to somehow be able to support himself so he can make a living and have a good life. That can only come about by hard work. So break out the rakes and head out to the backyard together. A good father works right along next to his child, showing him how to work and teaching him the value of hard work. Your example speaks volumes.
4. Offer your time
It’s easy to just come home after work and veg. But guess what your child wants more than anything else in the world? Your time. Most of the time, it doesn’t even matter what you two do together, it’s the act of being together that shows your love as a father.
So break out the board games, go on a bike ride together, watch some YouTube videos to make your child laugh—have fun figuring out what you both love to do together and then make it a habit.
5. Joke around
Never underestimate the power of a corny dad joke! That’s what dads are for, right? Teach your child how to laugh and joke—appropriately, of course—because really, what is life if not to enjoy? Being able to laugh and joke can help your child through the good times and the hard times. And there is nothing like laughing together.
6. Offer plenty of structure
Children look to their dads to set parameters for life. Rules and boundaries are an important part of the formative years of a child. It helps them to feel safe and secure, because they can rely on what will happen. Daily routines, house rules, etc., are all things to discuss with your child. It’s also an important thing for them to test. And your child will definitely test the boundaries! Breaking rules must come with consequences, perhaps of taking away of privileges.
As adults, we just know better. We’ve already been through it all. Our children, however, still have insight, and they need to be heart. They need your validation. So try to listen more than you talk. You want your child to trust you as their father, and trust can’t develop if they aren’t allowed to share their feelings with you. So make sure they feel safe.
8. Show love
Hug your children! Tell them you love them. Act in loving ways, such as giving your time, telling them what you love about them, doing what they want to do, and many other ways. More than anything, your child needs your love.
9. Offer encouragement
What is your child good at? Tell them often. Notice the little things, and be sure to mention what you notice. Encourage them in their schoolwork, athletics, everyday skills, friendship skills, and more. A little encouragement from a father will go a long way in helping build confidence and a happy child.
10. Do your best
Can you be the perfect father? What is perfect, anyway? It’s all relative. The only thing you can really do is your own personal best. As a new father with a baby, that might not be a lot. But you learn as you go. Isn’t that the point? Having kids is not for the faint of heart. It’s like earning a degree over 18+ years, but even then you realize you don’t have all the answers. But can’t you have an amazing time trying anyway?