Increasingly researches underscore the importance of a father in the child’s life well into the teenage years . But what is it that makes a dad so important to a toddler ? What do dads do that moms don’t? In the modern family it is not about the specific do’s and don’ts , but more about the different perspectives they bring in. Hence having dad around and involved both in parenting and play makes a massive difference in their childhood. In spite of the popular culture stereotyping more and more Indian fathers are proving themselves competent enough for the task .
Most dads are preoccupied with long hours and work pressures. Having a baby or toddler at home makes them focus more on work as a way to contribute more towards the family finances . With a hectic workload and competing demands, scheduling the little available time effectively becomes important . Fortunately , as with most things in life, quality trumps quantity . Here are some easy ideas for dads to spend quality time with their toddlers to forge a strong father-son /daughter bond.
1. Read to them
Toddlers love to have someone read to them. Choose a book with lots of illustrations . Read slowly, and let your toddler explore the pictures . Ask questions about how the characters are feeling, or what your toddler would do in similar circumstances. This is a fun activity that gives you great insights to your toddlers way of thinking
2. Build with them
Making something themselves gives toddlers immense sense of accomplishment . It does not matter whether you build a tree house or a doll house or model train or a playing card fort . There are umpteen out of the box building sets available if you are out of ideas . Pick one that your toddler can help you with . Remember your child will not mind if you are not very crafty or handy with tools . It will still be a great bonding and learning experience for both of you .
3. One-on-one time
Try to spend some one on one time with your toddler at least once a week . This is your child’s special time with you . Go for walk , visit the park or playground or go get an ice cream . Listen to them as they talk , help them climb a tree or the monkey bar . Try to spend this time away from the TV/arcades/movies etc. . It will be the cherished “Daddy and I” time for your toddler .
4. Family Time
Try to set aside one night a week , or any other time , as family time where the phones are ignored and other gadgets are turned off . Use this time to play with your toddler or talk to them about day to day activities . This is the time when everyone around the table is allowed to express their views , respectfully .
5. Be involved
Don’t be afraid to get involved. If you find your toddler roughhousing or making a mess , jump in and take charge . Show appreciation when your toddler shows of his/her artwork or craft project . Remember you are a superhero to them now and they long for your approval.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it can be easy to forget just how important we are to our children . A child who feels that he/she can communicate with his parent is less likely to get in trouble as they grow older . The key thing to remember is that the father’s point of view need not be the same as the mother’s. But when parents work together they give the child stability and structure. The child knows what to expect leading to less behavioral issues .
There is never a better time to get involved than NOW !!
Syama is a mom of 3 energetic kids. She loves yoga, hiking , baking , solving puzzles and her kids not necessarily in that order. In her past life as a techie she solved problems in virtual world. Now she wears many hats trying to navigate the challenges faced by the modern family . During her spare time you will find her blogging on varied subjects like maths and travel .