In many households it is usually mom who ends up spending the most time with the kids, whether it is meals, bath time, helping with homework or bedtime stories. This can happen even when both parents are working. Not all of it is fun time nor is it always voluntary, but duties regarding the kids tend to fall on mothers, whether dad is getting unintentionally sidelined or not finding the right avenue to jump in.
However, many busy fathers would like to be more involved and share the parenting load. Aside from getting to know and enjoy their kids, it also takes stress off mothers and it is great for children to experience equal interest and efforts from both parents. If you are looking for some ideas on how to be more involved, start by taking over in some areas where you already have the knowledge and don’t take up much time.
For example, by the time they have kids, most men are adept at running their finances. Instead of mom keeping track of the kids allowances (read here why an allowance is a good idea), dad could hand out the cash and advise the children on how to spend and save it. Along with this, he can teach the children the importance of working toward something and being disciplined enough to resist spending cash for instant gratification.
Fathers can also be useful for teaching skills like how to throw, hit, kick or catch a ball or ride a bike. Just remember, the aim is to spend time together, not coach the next Sachin Tendulkar or tennis champion. Similarly you can also work on a project together or build something out of cardboard. If you have a hobby, that is a great way to interact with your child.
If the father is out of the home a lot and this limits the time he spends with the kids, schedule some time out for just the parents. Mothers can use this time to keep him up to date on all the details of what is happening with each of the children. Often, busy working parents miss out or are unaware of important information such as school progress, emotional and psychical state and how their children are doing socially, because they don’t have time to get into deep discussions. Getting to know what’s going on will allow the father to pick up on subtle cues children give out when they have problems and be more involved and active in helping them solve them.
In a similar way, schedule time for child of your children to spend quality time with their father. Even if it’s only once a month, some one-on-one quality time helps relationships deepen and leave a lasting impression on kids.
These small efforts for busy fathers to get more involved, but they can go a long way to making your kids feel more secure and strengthening the bond between them and you, as well as your overall ties as a family.
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