Recently, CEO of Dads for Life and the Centre for Fathering Bryan Tan wrote about his struggles of being a working parent, having to cope working, being a good husband, being involved in his children’s lives, and having time for himself. Having rejected by his eldest child who wanted to go for his enrichment class instead of spending time with him made Bryan realise that he needs to resist “outsourcing” his parenting duties – and be involved. Below are 3 tips he shared about being a more involved dad, or parent in general.
1. Set The Tone
Bryan found out that he was the one who would carry negative emotions back home after a bad day at work, and this affects the mood and tone at home. The consistency of his behaviour towards his family is key to their sense of security and stability. Outsourcing parenting duties to the television is setting an awkward or aloof tone at home. It is important to consciously prepare and psych yourself before returning home. It is not about being happy, but rather it is about providing the consistent sense of calm, peace and unconditional love upon reaching home.
2. Being Present
Bryan learnt that his sons enjoyed savouring their food, rather than wolfing their dinner down, which explained why they were “slower” in finishing their dinner. Outsourcing mealtimes or feeding duties may deter one from being truly present. Looking at the world through your children’s eyes helps to better appreciate who they are. Our children are all unique individuals with their own unique personalities, and understanding them and their needs would help create a better atmosphere at home.
Numerous studies have pointed towards the benefits of family mealtimes. Children may be 35 per cent less likely to engage in disordered eating, 24 per cent more likely to eat healthier foods, and 12 per cent less likely to be overweight if parents eat together with their kids at least three times a week.
3. Team Effort
Besides mealtimes, helping your children with schoolwork, playing with them, bathing them, reading to them and putting them to bed whenever you can, daily if possible, help form intimate bonds. Not outsourcing these allows parents to comfort, encourage and listen to your children. Leaving their bedside after your children have fallen asleep creates closure to the day, allowing a smooth ease into sleep.
Parenting is never easy, be it for dads or mums. Take the first step to not outsourcing – by joining your children at swim class today!