I am sure there are tons of statistics out there about how much influence a dad has in the lives of his children. I am sure I have even heard a few before, but I don’t need statistics to know that I need to be involved in the lives of my children. They are going to learn a lot about life from somewhere and since they were born into my house, it would be good if it came from me. So here are 5 things I do at a minimum (and would recommend) to be involved in the lives of my kids.
1. Regular Quality Time
I actually got this out of my father’s play book. Even though there were four of us, he seemed to find time to spend about an hour a week with each of us alone. When I was younger this was usually a drive out to a bible study and back or a weekend trip to go fishing. The way this works with my daughter is that we go out (or stay in) for a pancake breakfast every Friday morning. Its a regularly scheduled deal that she looks forward to every week.
2. Read Together
I love to read (if you can’t tell by the rest of the blog) and often read several pages a day in real books just for school. But taking time to read to my daughter is essential. Reading books she enjoys ensures that one day she will like reading too and reading will open doors for her beyond her own world.
3. Play Together
This is a little tricky when you have a daughter. Though I have played my fair share of doll house, tea party, and princess games, I really prefer to stay masculine and bring my daughter into my world of play. I’ve found getting outside is one of the best ways to maintain my masculinity and play on a real level. She loves to swing and jump on the trampoline and I love to see her smile. She also like sitting on my back while I do push ups or letting me pull her around the block in the wagon.
4. Share About Your Day
Most days when I get home I let her share about her day and I give her a play by play through my day. We started this when she was 3. At first I wasn’t sure if she was up to the task, but after a few weeks it kind of became a regular thing. I’ve learned a lot about what is important to her by hearing her share her play by play of the day. It only take a few minutes but has quickly become a highlight of her day and mine.
5. Use Strong Words of Affirmation
Our children need to know that we love them, that we are proud of them, and that we think they have great potential. My kids hear that I love them several times a day. They hear it when they wake up, they hear it when they go to sleep, they hear it when we talk. There does not need to ever be a doubt that I love my kids. Its not enough to show it, it has to be said.
My kids also need to know that I am proud of them. I let my daughter know that I am proud of her for setting boundaries when people hug her for too long. I let her know that I am proud of her when she is helpful and when she learns the right sound for a letter. By letting her know that I am proud of her it reinforces the posetive behavior in her life.
My kids need to know that they have potential. I enjoy helping my daughter find a vision for reading if she would practice more. Saying things like, “You are really catching on. I’ll bet you will be able to read this book to me by the end of February” really sets a goal out there for her and lets her know I think she can achieve it. I’m not just proud of her current actions and abilities, but I have confidence that she will grow. My confidence in her gives her confidence to try new things.