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Monday, June 1, 2009

Keeping Dad In the Loop

Studies out there are showing that Dads often feel left out of parenting. Add that to statistics pointing out that Dads spend an average of a mere 45 seconds (gasp!) of one-on-one time with their kids each day, and you'll see there's a serious need to keep Dad in the parenting loop.

Here are some tips on doing just that (first 4 ideas are courtesy of Redbook magazine):
*Maintain and protect family time. When Dad comes home, don't get on the computer to chat with another mom or check your email. Do that during the day when your kids are napping or at school. Preserve the family unit, and make sure you have solid family time at night.
*Include Dad in weekend activities. If you're planning an outing with some girlfriends for the upcoming weekend, invite the Dads, too. He can make some new friends and feel he's part of the community instead of a competitor with it.
*Make sure he knows he's valued. You as the Mom probably were the one to read all the "how-to" books on parenting, getting your baby to sleep through the night, potty training, etcetera, so naturally you feel you know more than Dad does. That being said, when Dad makes a suggestion, consider it before blowing it off, and let him know you value his input. Complement the things he does do well with baby, so that he won't be completely deflated when either go to other moms for advice, or you don't take up his suggestion for doing something else a certain way with the kids.
*Cuddle. Make sure you save some time for him and not just baby. Being physically affectionate shows him you care and reassures him how important he is to you.
*Schedule 1-on-1 time with Dad & child. You as Mom get all day long to be with the kids and soak up what they're learning, but with Dad at work all day, he misses out on a lot. Schedule some 1-on-1 time for just Dad and child on an upcoming Saturday. Not only will he feel connected to your child, but you will get a well-deserved break from parenting, as well. If you both work full-time, take turns scheduling one-on-one time for each other with the kids, so you each get both quality time with the kids and alone-time for some R&R.