Always make time to answer your child’s questions. This is one of the key foundations of your relationship through the years to come.

If your child asks a question, it is because he wants to know the answer. Of course depending on the age of your child, you respond appropriately, but never brush off their question as not being important. The fact that your child asks you a question, shows that he is curious. He has a desire to discover the world he is growing up in and has a need to interact with you and have you do it with him. The question is important to your child based upon his current points of reference, or he would not have asked it

He will value your undivided attention so much, which will become evident in later years, when you ask him a question, or need an answer. He will give it to you, because that has always been the way you have treated him. As his father, you lead by example.

It is at a very early age that you should set the ground rules for the quality of communication between you and your children. This will determine what happens throughout their whole childhood. If you get this right, at the start of their lives, it will reap immeasurable benefits for the quality of your relationship together in later years. This will be very evident during the teenage years, when the challenges are very different, and can sometimes seem insurmountable for both of you.

Think of the amount of times you have heard other fathers say to their child “ask me later”, or “go and ask your mother”. By doing this, you are sending a subliminal message to your child. ‘I do not have time for you right now’, or ‘I’m not interested in what you want to know’, or even ‘it doesn’t concern me’. Potentially this can be the start of the construction of subconscious barriers to communication with your child, which as he gets older will be very hard to overcome.

So, stop whatever you are doing, or at least as soon as it is safe to do so, and listen carefully to the question. Then answer it honestly. You both will reap the benefits of this approach right through to your child’s adulthood………………… and beyond!

 

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How do you keep your children close to you from babyhood to adulthood? It is possible, you just need the right approach and philosophy…………………Every Day

How do you know if you have got it right with your children? How do you judge if you are a successful parent as you watch your child grow up? What mistakes and pitfalls can you avoid and what ones are inevitable? These questions and many more are always in the mind of you as a parent. What you do know is that you want to be the best parent possible to your child.

So where do you start? Right at the beginning, as soon as your child is able to communicate with you. This is the door through which you must walk with your child and never let it close on you. Open communication between you as your child grows up, will allow you to overcome virtually every problem that presents itself to you. In fact even before issues become problems.

As a parent, never have any subject which cannot be discussed openly by you and your child, however uncomfortable it is for you. Strategies like always having a special time of the day when you talk about what has gone on, for both you and your child, will really work. This could be at supper time, or when you child is in bed, or those tender moments just before going to bed. You will find that this lays the foundation for a very strong relationship as your child grows up, and will make your bond together unshakeable.

At these special times, you also need to be telling your child your daily challenges as he needs to be able to relate and understand your world. Of course you need to tailor what you say depending on his age. You say your bit and encourage him to say whatever he wants to. You will be amazed at what you learn. The conversations will change as your child grows older, but will always be open and frank. Those key links you build together will always work whether your child is 2 or 22.

It is really worth making the effort on this, and you and your child will have created a bond which will help you both, and enhance your relationship together for the rest of your lives.

How do you stop subconscious mental barriers being constructed with your children?

In the past fathers didn’t show their emotions like mothers did. Boys had to follow in their footsteps and show the ‘British Stiff Upper Lip’. Girls were considered different from boys and allowed to be emotional. Yet life is full of emotion no matter what sex you are. Whether it is happiness or sadness, elation or despair, you should never be afraid to show your emotions as a father. Children need to know that their father experiences the same type of emotions as they do. They also need to be able to see you actually showing those emotions.

Doing this prevents any subconscious mental barriers being constructed within the vital relationship between you as a father and your child. Be very tactile with your children, they need physical contact with you as their father just as much as they do with their mother.

Don’t be afraid to give your child a hug when you see her, or to always kiss her goodnight when she goes to bed, irrespective of what age she is, whether 2 or 22. For a child, at the beginning, it is totally normal that this should happen, after all, you are her father. You are one of the two most important people in her life and you should remain as that until she starts her own life with her own partner and has children of her own. Even then that bond will never be lost, if you have created a relationship built on substance, respect and love.

How often do you hear children say to their parents “you never listen to me”? If you really want to, it’s easy to always listen carefully to what your child is saying. This philosophy is your chance to make sure your children know from a very early age, that you do listen to them. They need to know that their contribution to the family dynamic is just as important as yours. It is always a two way relationship and you must never forget that and communication and love will flow between you totally unhindered if you get it right.

 

It is possible to amuse your Toddlers whilst stuck in the car and avoid stress for all the family. Try these games and distractions and enjoy the ride.

Playing games in the car will normally stop your child getting bored and agitated. A good one that you can play with him, is ‘the snooker game’. You ask him to spot the colours of cars in the order of the balls played in a game of snooker. You start with white, then a red, then yellow, and all the way up to black. Have you ever noticed how few yellow, brown or pink cars there are on the roads? In fact there are hardly any pink ones at all. You can keep this game going for as long as you need to. It will keep your child amused for a long while, as well as distracting you.

Another game you can play is looking for the type or make of car. For example a Volkswagen Beetle, or an Aston Martin DB9. If you want the game to last a little longer for your child, then choose a rare type of car. If you want your child to find it quickly, choose a more popular model. There are many variations on this theme that you can use depending on how creative you want to be. For example, it could be marques of lorries, buses, vans or even caravans and trailers.

If you prefer to play more educational games with your child, you can play ‘Capital cities of the world’. This game is both interesting and educational for you and your child and keeps him focussed on fun learning instead of getting frustrated because he is bored in the car. Start with very easy ones such as the Capital city of England or Scotland. You call out the country and your child has to guess its Capital city. Once he gets used to some of the answers, you can progress to other more difficult ones from European or South American countries. You will be amazed just how much knowledge your child will pick up and retain.

As you know, the car can be a very challenging environment with your small child. Occasionally if the games don’t work, you can start singing songs together. This will work well for you and can be used as a means of passing time between two points on the road. If it is fifteen minutes until your exit, you can devise a game for all of you to sing songs, one after the other and you can all give marks out of ten. For example, between two junctions on a Motorway, suggest to everyone in the car to sing an agreed song or nursery rhyme, until the second junction is reached. There must be no exceptions, and everyone must join in. Let your child choose the song as soon as the one you have chosen is finished.

You will see that time passes very quickly like this and it is very good for strengthening bonds between you and your child. It also reinforces your child’s sense of doing fun things with you. Remember you want to have really good fun with your child, and that is an important part of your relationship together! For example, while going under the Dartford Tunnel, you and your child could sing “10 little ducks went swimming one day”. The goal would be to finish the song exactly at the moment when you leave the tunnel. Your child will be enthralled.

You can also invent stories to tell to your child in the car. He will be captivated. For example, you could invent a story about ‘The Wicked Witch of Gott’ (this is a totally made up name). She is an old witch who sits at her window watching the children go to school. If somebody pulls a face at her, she will cast a spell and that face would become permanent on the child who pulled it. You can only get your normal face back if you go up to the Witch’s house and apologise to the Witch in person (nobody wanted to do that). The only other way to get your normal face back is if the wind changes direction. You can adapt this story with different characters and draw it out or shorten it depending on the length of time you are in the car. This will be subconsciously teaching your child to be polite and not to pull faces at people, also to respect others who are different.

Your child will love stories which are told by you, so you can be very creative with them. For example, you could invent one about a family of dinosaurs and its prehistoric adventures, with each dinosaur representing one member of your family. You can let your Toddler choose who is what dinosaur, then you can recount a story which you can make up as you go along. If you let your child choose who you are, you might find that you always end up being the Brontosaurus! I wonder why……

How can you as a Dad, improve the general quality of life at home when you have a demanding Toddler tiring your partner out? It is possible and there is a special benefit as well!

This is always a challenge for young parents when you have Toddlers in the household, but a little extra effort can reap dividends for you both. Even if you are exhausted when you arrive home from work, and you feel you don’t have enough energy to have a little playtime with your child, force yourself to make that extra special effort.

Always say hello to your child, wherever he is in the house and listen attentively to what he has to say to you about his day. It will be time very well spent. He will always want to greet you when you have been away, even if only for a few hours and he will remember the effort you have made for him for many years to come.

It will also give your partner a break, which she will really appreciate and recognise the effort you have made. Even though she knows you are very tired from being out all day, the fact that you have made that special effort to relieve her, will help improve your relationship together. It will give her instant relief from the pressure of children, and it will definitely improve your sex life.

This may seem like a wild claim, but as she will be far more relaxed when she goes to bed, it will definitely be more rewarding than if she is exhausted. It’s a bit like knocking over a set of dominoes. You relieve the pressure on her, she spends time on herself, she relaxes, you get tired from playing with your Toddler, you need relaxing, she spends time on you, you feel better, she feels better……it’s a win/win situation……

As a Father, are you Happy with the Nappy? If not, you soon will be

It may not seem like it at first, but getting ‘Happy with the Nappy’ is a key moment of high quality time with your baby. This can be really difficult to imagine, particularly at the beginning, as you change that first one while holding back the instinct to vomit. But don’t worry, you will get to experience some very intimate, funny and of course, messy times together with your baby.

At the time they may seem distressing for you, but not your baby, but they’ll also be times you will recount and laugh about for the next twenty years. Not to mention the potential of embarrassing your teenager in front of people, even if you don’t do it deliberately. They may not all be ‘rosy’ moments and absolutely nothing can prepare you for that first really smelly one, but treasure them nevertheless.

In fact, you’ll wonder how something so small and cute can produce something so toxic and revolting. When this happens, you may be tempted to let your partner take care of the nappy changes, but resist this. As she probably does most of the input, you should do your share of the output!

Of course beware of changing your child’s nappy just before you are going out. There is nothing more frustrating than having to change your suit and shirt as they have just been soaked by a jet of warm yellow liquid. Then to see the look of contentment on your child’s face, together with that little smile. It puts it all into perspective and you can’t stay annoyed for very long. In fact it then becomes one of those special moments to treasure.

So get involved with this important part of your baby and ‘Get Happy with the Nappy’.

What is the most enjoyable period for you during your child’s growing up years?

When you have your first child, everything is brand new from when she is born to when she leaves home. You experience everything first with your eldest. But if you have more than one child, it is only then that you can then start to evaluate what period of your children’s lives is the most enjoyable for you as a Father.

For me, and many dads I have spoken to, this a very interesting question, as sometimes it appears that your child’s growing up years seem to go by all too quickly. All you can then do is look back and say “that was good”, or “I didn’t particularly like that”, without really appreciating it fully. So when do you really have a chance to look at which part of your child’s development is the most enjoyable experience for you?

You might think the joy of having a new born is the most enjoyable, as everything is new, and you are learning literally, every day. Or when your child becomes a Toddler. He is so sweet, apart from those ‘terrible two’s’ tantrums. But hey, they are not too frequent are they? Or it could be the Primary School years, pre-puberty, when you are the ‘apple of your child’s eye’. Then again is it the Teenage years? Probably not, as your child is changing so much physically and mentally, unless you love to see how she handles these challenges and still remains reasonable.

Then when they finish Secondary School and are officially adults, at least in age. Maybe you can start to discuss rationally with them, now they are going off to University or going out to work. Or is the final stage of childhood the most enjoyable for you, when they leave home, but still need you as an advisor or confidante?

When do you think the best period is then? I think it is actually all of them, each part of their growing up period is different, as each child is and therefore your child will react and respond to you in a different way at whatever stage of his life he is at. So you should make the most of whatever period your child is in and enjoy it to the full with him, even if you have to handle the odd sleepless night, sudden tantrum, or unexpected and unwarranted teenage explosion. Every part of their childhood is enjoyable, but like many things you live through in life, sometimes you don’t always realise it while it is happening.

 

How can you manage those car journeys for bored young children?

How many times have you dreaded the thought of getting in the car with your small children and wondered how you will manage them this time? Youngsters get bored notoriously quickly and it doesn’t take long for them to get noisy, frustrated and sometimes aggressive. You will have experienced that. So how can you make those car journeys not only tolerable, but enjoyable?

The answer is distraction. You will know that if your child is playing up, the only way to manage is to distract him and in a car, there is plenty around you to do this. Games always work, as does singing together. First of all, what games could you play? All around you are other cars, so you could start with ‘spot the mini’. The first person in the car, and it includes you and mum as well, to spot a mini, gets a point. If it is a yellow one, then you get two points. The first person to reach ten points gets to choose what the next car is to be spotted. This can last for as long as you want, and your child will love the challenge and the competition, particularly if he beats you and mum!

If you prefer singing to playing a game, then you could try the following. You take the distance between two points on the road. It could be between two road junctions, or villages, in fact any two landmarks are good for this. Then somebody in the car has to sing a nursery rhyme or rhymes, and time it so that it begins when you pass point A, and finishes exactly when you reach point B. You will be amazed how much your child will enjoy this challenge, singing, finishing right on time, and knowing you are listening to him. Once he has finished, he gets to choose who will sing next.

Try these, I’m sure they will help make the car a less stressful place for everyone in your family. There is nothing better than arriving at your destination relaxed and refreshed with good tempered children…………

 

Have you ever felt judged as a father, and when does this happen to you?

How often have you been out with your child when he has been misbehaving? Maybe this has happened in a restaurant or a park, and you have felt others are judging you? This happens quite a lot, and particularly to fathers on their own with their children. Other people will be wondering how you are going to handle such a situation.

If this misbehaviour, or worse still, a tantrum occurs in a public place, you shouldn’t worry what others are thinking about you. Young children always have their moments of bad behaviour, it is part of the growing up process, and everyone knows this can happen anywhere.

If it does, you should never lose your cool, but try to be relaxed about it. If possible, go outside for a few minutes until your child has calmed down, talking to him with a soft but firm voice. You can also try distracting your child with a game, such as spotting certain colour cars when you are either inside or outside the restaurant.

Don’t worry about others judging you, but think about why you are out with your child in the first place. It is to have fun and spend quality time with him. In that moment, actually it should always be like that, he is the most important person in your life, and it is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, and do something that you both love doing.

It is far more important that you have a great time together, even if it is sometimes very challenging, rather than worrying about what other people might say. You should never feel self conscious about being in a situation like this with your child, it is part of life.

How do I make sure my child goes to bed on time? Create a routine when he goes to nursery school..

How often have you had a battle with your child over bedtime? “Can I just finish that TV program?” or “I’ve nearly finished my game” are just a couple of delaying tactics. By starting young, and creating a non negotiable routine, bedtime can be permanently enjoyable for you and your child, and not a source of disagreements.

Start when your child is about 4 years old, when he starts to go to nursery school, and introduce the ‘rule’ of going to bed at 7.00 pm. Once you have done this, make sure you always give about 15 minutes notice before bedtime. This will allow your child to finish what he is doing, whether it is a game he is playing or a TV program he is watching.

Once you have started regular bedtimes, you can introduce a later bedtime for every birthday that is reached. Each year the time goes back 15 minutes, so at age 10, it is 8.30 pm, then it continues up to the age of 16 when it becomes 10.00 pm. After this age, your child will go to bed when he wants, although you should try to keep a routine during term time.

If you introduce this routine very early on in your child’s life, it will never become an issue. It will also ensure that you and your partner get some quality relaxation time together in the evening, once the children are in bed, when you can really focus on each other.