How to Be a Good Dad.

by childsplayx2 on May 21, 2008

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 I’ve been writing about the YMCA and how you can use the Y and other rec programs to help strengthen the family unit.  But I’m gettin’ kinda tired of writing about the Y, considering I do it every day at work.  So, I decided to jot down a few things that I think are essential to being a good dad.  Here it goes…

1) Know your sizes.  Dads who know their kids sizes can totally hang with the mommy playgroup.  Generally, the sizes go like this: Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months (not to be confused with 2T), 2T, 3T, etc., etc.  Of course, you are usually dressing your kid in the next size up.  If your kid is freakishly big or freakishly small, then you need to adjust accordingly.  If you need a cheat sheet, you can find all you need to know here.  BTW, you should also know your kids shoe size and diaper size.  I’ll make you hunt for that one. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that way.

2)  Change a diaper like a NASCAR Pit Crew.  You can’t even brag about being an equal parent to your spouse if you can’t get down and dirty and change a diaper. Any place.  Any time.  They even make manly looking diaper bags so you can hold onto your masculinity while holding your kids feet in the air on a park bench at the local play ground.  When it comes to stocking your bag, don’t forget toys, lots of wipes, a couple of empty bottles, some zip-loc bags and an extra onesie or change of clothes.  Oh, and since you’re a man you have to go with Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

3)  Know your kid’s doctor and teacher.  I hate hearing information second hand.  And I don’t want my wife to be the one solely responsible for important things like yearly checkups and teacher-parent conferences.  When you became a dad you signed up for all of it.  Don’t delegate this stuff to your spouse.  Your opinion counts.  And I guarantee your kids are watching too.

4) Always tell the truth.  Speaking of your kids watching, they are listening too.  When you tell the guy at the movie theater that your kid is 12 when he’s really 13 so you can save a couple of bucks on a ticket.  Teaching your kid how to lie isn’t being a good dad.

5) Have a signature dish (or two).  Now, the great thing about being a man (and what sucks about being a woman, I suppose) is that men get a lot more credit than they deserve for doing every day stuff.  We didn’t make the rules, however, so you might as well flaunt them.  What can I say, chicks dig guys who cook.  When I tell women that I cook half the meals in my household, they get a glazed look in their eye like they want to take me home and watch me massage chicken breasts.  If you can learn to make a handful of dishes, you will teach your kids that domesticity isn’t just for the ladies anymore.

6) Tackle the kids (maybe not literally). I’m still amazed at the amount of fathers out there that don’t feel comfortable doing stuff 0ne-on-one or one-on-howevermanykidsyougot.  Not you, of course, but there are dads out there that just don’t do things with their kids alone outside of the home.  They are missing out, I tell you.  The bonding time without a maternal unit nearby is awesome and really gives you a sense of ownership on this whole parenting thing.  Besides, what’s the worst thing that could happen?  You could lose one?  Well, yes.  But in some cases you can gain one too.  Not that I recommend that.  It will probably cause trouble.

Well, I had originally planned on 10 items but I’m tired.  And good Dads need to get their sleep when they can.  Maybe you can help me finish the list.  What are your ideas on how to be a good dad?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

The Wife May 21, 2008 at 8:02 am

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he does the grocery shopping every week–and he takes all three kids with him. He is trying to prove to me that it’s not impossible to do errands with kids–I’m happy to let him prove it. I always get comments from friends who ran into him at the store and are so impressed. I get a little quiet time at home, he gets a little praise for being less of a donkey than normal.

Jemima Shah May 21, 2008 at 2:52 pm

We love Butt Paste over here in the UK, it’s just got here and it’s simply marvelous :)

Deanna May 22, 2008 at 12:28 am

#7 – Know how to fold your own laundry. If you want your shirt folded JUST SO, then you had darn well better know what JUST SO looks like.
#8 – Be able to perform some basic ironing.
#9 – Get down and dirty with the kids. Wrestle. Squirt them with a hose. Take them out to play paintball (when they’re older). Let them bury you at the beach. Dads are for having fun with, so go get messy.
#10 – Remember the important dates – wife’s birthday, anniversary, and all the children’s birthdays. Write them down – heck, Google calendar will even alert you when the date is getting close if you tell it to! Trust me, nearly all the other important dates can slide if you remember these essential ones.

Thrifty Karen June 6, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Great list. I love it! You should make copies and pass them around. lol

Here are a few of my suggestions:

7) Spend quality time alone with your kids. My husband sometimes takes my daughter out by himself without me or our son. We call this her “daddy date”. It’s just time to be alone with dad and to bond. He does take our son out too. Last Friday night, he took our son to the car show with him. It’s great bonding time.

8) Share household responsibilities. So many men just sit on the couch while the wife cooks, does laundry, does the dishes, sweeps, cleans, etc. I think men that get involved in the housework teach their children that everyone has responsibilities in the house and that the wife and mom is to be valued. Women should not be treated as slaves or as less important.

9) Help with night time activities. Bath time, getting pjs on, brushing teeth, etc – all that can be tiring, especially when you’re doing it by yourself every night.

10) Teach your children to have integrity and good character. We are teaching our children a good understanding of right and wrong. They notice when others do things that our family does not find acceptable, but they are taught to love others, even when we don’t agree with their actions.

Matt October 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm

This is great. Such a nice read.

From a single dad: Good fathers opinions ALWAYS count. Kids are and always will be watching.

UP4Liberty January 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Thanks for the list. These are good.

Here is one I know my wife loves: I take the children (2 yrs. 11 mos. old and 4 mos. 2 wks. old) out on Sunday morning. She gets to sleep in for an extra two to four hours – and she really appreciates the slumber time!

Second Item: Teach your children sign language as you teach them how to speak. I swear this works. We were able to teach our daughter how to sign words and phrases like “More” (If she wanted more food), “All Done” (When she was no longer hungry) and many others. This did two things: it made our daughter far less frustrated when she needed something – because we could understand her – even though she could not say the words she was trying to communicate to us. Second, her ability to speak developed rapidly, and we have been blessed with many compliments on our daughter’s vocabulary and conversational ability.

Third: Read to your children every night before they go to bed. This will ensure that your child will love to read and learn as he or she grows.

Hope these help – cheers!

dj comet future dad June 15, 2010 at 4:52 am

well i just found out that I’m going to be a daddy. i don’t know what to do, and these tips really helped me a lot thank you very much every one.

T.W. December 8, 2010 at 5:29 am

Great read. Newly separated and trying to do my best when I have my boys, 2 and 4. Love the suggestion in comments re the sign language. Is there a web site or book he could recommend?



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