Time to go home with your new baby. How can you make it seamless and stress free?

After the trauma and exhilaration of the birth of the family’s new arrival, it will be time to go home. This can pose a few challenges, but if you handle it right, it will be plain sailing. When you arrive home with your baby for the first time, if you have animals (dogs specifically), immediately bring your baby to be introduced to the family pet.

This will make your dog feel fully included in the arrival of the new family member and help to prevent any jealousy occurring. If you don’t push it away, it will create its own bond for looking after and protecting your child. Your baby will also start immediately and subconsciously to learn to accept them and not to feel threatened by dogs. In later life, this will be a good social skill as she will be more comfortable around animals.

When we had our first baby and brought him home from the hospital, we placed him in his carrier seat on the floor in the middle of the lounge. We then called our dog over to see him. She sniffed him and looked at him, and sniffed him again, and understood that he was a new addition to the family, and was no threat to her.  She immediately lay down next to his carrier seat and stayed like that for quite a while until it was time for a feed….the baby that is!

From that day onwards until she died 10 years later, she slept under his cot initially and then his bed, and ‘protected’ him. Once we had a second and a third child, she would rotate rooms virtually every night once so she could look out for all three of them.

Of course, this might not be possible in some households depending on the breed of dog. Also, if your pet is an outdoor one it will be slightly different.  However, when you do go outside with your baby for the first time make sure that you introduce your new arrival to the family pet. It works very well.

Also, if you already have children, prior to your new baby’s arrival, talk to them about having a new member of the family. It is very important to include them in all the attention their new sibling is getting. It will make them feel good towards their new sister and be really positive about her arrival. A very good strategy to get your older child to feel good about the new arrival in the family, is for your baby to ‘bring a special gift’ to them.

For years after our daughter was born our oldest son always remembered the Thomas the Tank Engine train set ‘his new sister bought him’. He loved her for that, (Toddlers can be so fickle) and never got jealous when we were giving her attention, because he understood she was smaller than him and ‘needed to be looked after’.

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Exactly how important do you think it is to be a good Father to your children? Even more than just ‘vital’ if that is possible, as you will see!

You as a Father made several choices, many of them unconscious, before and when you finally decided, together with your partner, to have children. It was to become a complete change in your life and certainly will have turned out to be just that. Exactly how involved you are in your child’s life, will determine inextricably what kind of person he/she will become. Your children are what you make them into and this is a responsibility that is absolutely enormous.

The relationship between parents and their children, within the family unit, underpins the whole fabric of our society. So many ills in it can be directly linked to problems within the family unit. Very often this will be because of an absentee Father in the household. This can be for a variety of reasons, some of which can be out of the his control. If however the relationship is strong and stable, it will have a positive effect for many years into the future. A close and loving dynamic will benefit you, your child and society in general. If you are to get the most out of being a Father, you have to be prepared to take on every aspect of the job, however challenging it is, and be involved 100% in every area of your child’s life. If you do this and are totally committed to being the best dad possible to your children, it will be the most rewarding thing that you will ever have experienced.

“Great Dads make for Great Children and Great Children make for a very Happy life for everyone”. This has always been my motto, and anyone who is involved with children will know this is true.

Thank you for reading this Blog as it means you really care. I have written a book called ‘Help I’m a Father’ which talks all about this relationship and is full of really useful tips and advice. It is available through Amazon and all Royalties are being donated to sick and underprivileged children’s charities to help improve their lives.

Make Believe is magical for your child, particularly around Christmas time. You should keep it magical…

Christmas and New Year is the most magical time of year and one for the whole family to really enjoy being together. For your children, having Daddy around helping Mummy prepare for Christmas and sharing in the excitement as it builds, will be very special. Try to make sure you always spend Christmas and New Year with your children. You will see, that by always making an effort to be together at this time of year, when they are very young and as they grow older, they will want to continue to spend the Festive period with you. They will come to expect this, and it will always be like that, even when they have their own family unit. The tables might be turned though and it will be them doing all the work.

Something you could do to make the magic of Father Christmas more realistic, is to dress up on Christmas morning and just as your child is waking up, run across the lawn (or across a corridor if you live in an apartment) in your outfit. While you do that, your partner can call your child to the window or the door, so he can just manage to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas disappearing round the side of the building. Of course it has to be perfectly co-ordinated with your partner. While your child is still looking on in disbelief, you can quickly come inside, get rid of your outfit, join in and share in the amazement. Your child will be convinced he has seen Santa Claus.

Always keep in mind when you decide to do this that your Child is extremely observant. One year I forgot to put boots on and wore a pair of my everyday shoes. When I got back inside the house all pleased with my little charade, my son asked very ‘matter of factly’ why Father Christmas was wearing my shoes. Fortunately he was still very young, only 2 years old and I was able to explain it away by saying lots of people had shoes like mine. It wouldn’t have worked if he had been much older.

 

A Great Idea for a Christmas Present for any Dad, my Book ‘Help I’m a Father’

A Father is a vital component in the family and such an important daily point of reference for his children. A truly involved Dad will have such a positive impact on his children’s well being and contributes so much to their lives, it can never be over played.

In my book ‘Help I’m a Father’ I have really focused on things that a Father can do to improve the quality of his relationship with his children and offered tips and advice which can certainly get him out of some tricky day to day situations. It can offer him options when he most needs inspiration. But don’t believe me, below are some of the 5 star customer reviews it has received on Amazon.

“Brilliant book! So many useful tips and bits of advice to keep you going through the tough times of being a parent. Suitable to all parents from those with young children all the way to those with adult children. Plus it has some really good ideas of things to do to keep your children amused on long journeys! Would recommend to anyone needing a bit of help with parenting, especially those couples that are first time pregnant and want a little heads up with what’s about to come!”

“Perceptive, clever and sharply written. Hearn tackles the most important and least-written-about area of a man’s life. This book is a must for fathers, fathers-to-be — and mothers who want to understand the particular challenges their partners face”

“This is a really useful, enjoyable, amusing and long overdue book which gives an excellent perspective, for any Dad or Dad-to-be, on what it takes to be a better parent.”

“Great read! Well written and gives fantastic advice on all the areas of family and fatherhood!”

Any feedback or comments you can give me are very welcome, so please don’t hesitate.

The book is available through Amazon in paperback or an e-book. It would make a very useful and practical Christmas present for any Father, and would certainly be appreciated hugely. The link is below

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Help-Im-Father-Moments-Great-ebook/dp/B01H63QO2G

 

A Special Author who writes Books for young children that are fun and really meaningful

It is rare nowadays that I look at children’s books as my own children are older now. But very occasionally I come across an Author who is an inspiration. When I do, I feel I should share with all parents, which is why I am talking about it here on my Blog

I stumbled across these wonderful books written by Denise McCabe while I was browsing Amazon looking for ways to promote my own book ‘Help I’m a Father’. After looking briefly at the synopsis of the book and also the others in the series, I really felt that these books were something special, so I decided to buy a copy.

I was not disappointed at all. Denise manages to create a captivating story for young children to follow, while communicating a real moral side to the tale and encouraging really good values. The perfect mix for youngsters and exactly the type of story book any parent would want to read to their young children.

The one I read is called ‘Spike, The Not So Nice Dinosaur’, but there are several books in the series available through Amazon as an e-book or a paperback. I am sure they are all just as good. I highly recommend Denise and her books, you won’t be disappointed. The link is below.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dinosaur-Teaching-Kindergarten-Preschool-Childrens-ebook/dp/B01CPAUYOY/ref=sr_1_3?tag=geolinker-21&ie=UTF8

 

 

“If at first you don’t succeed, try……try…..and try again!” If your child wants it badly enough encourage her not to give up.

Sharing and experiencing your child’s proudest moments will be very rewarding for you both. For example, if your daughter is in a Talent Show at school, try to be there to see her perform. Or if she is in a Sports team and it is a special occasion such as a final, always make the effort to be present. In fact, even for regular school matches, you should try to support your child as often as possible. If her team loses and she doesn’t do as well as she had hoped in the match, you will be there to support her through her disappointment. You can use situations like these to help your child understand and accept that in life you will not always succeed.

I always remember what my mother said to me when I was a child and have used it so often with my own children. It is as true today as the first time I ever heard it. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again”.

This philosophy will help your child hugely as she embarks on the journey of life, as she grows up and goes her own way. Tell her about things that didn’t work out for you and how you never gave up, but moved on and achieved something different. For example it could have been a University which rejected your degree application, or an unsuccessful job interview. But you ended up going to a different place and had an amazing time there anyway. Some things just don’t go to plan and work out differently to how you wanted and imagined it. Your child needs to understand that life can be like this.

But if it is a specific goal she wants to achieve, you can help her keep aiming for it and suggest a different route to achieving it. There are always several ways to succeed, it just may not be the route she originally thought it would be. This is where your guidance, support and encouragement are vital and she will value you so much for this for many years to come.

What do you do when honesty might hurt your child? An eternal parental dilemma but it all depends on his age.

As a father and a parent, you will never want to hurt your child, but sometimes if you tell them things as they really are, they will get upset and the effects may even last for sometime. Occasionally a ‘white lie’ is acceptable if it is done to protect your child from something, particularly if they are not yet at an age when they can understand the full consequences of it. However, you should always try to be honest with your children and never lie to them on serious issues.

Sometimes it is very difficult to stick to this guideline, but remember that your children deserve you to treat them correctly. It doesn’t really matter what the subject matter is of your ‘white lie’, but your judgement of the situation will determine if it is the correct course of action. If your child is a toddler or under five and his grand mother passes away, you might tell him that ‘nanna has gone to a special place with the angels’.

If however he has been at primary school for a few years he will be starting to learn about the human life cycle and that we are born and we eventually die. You may make a judgement call in this instance and tell him the truth but couch it in more direct gentle terms like ‘nanna passed away peacefully in her sleep and has gone to heaven’. So how you communicate with your child will very definitely be relative to your child’s age and his ability to comprehend life events like this.

If however you do lie to him even on a subject as serious as this and he finds out, it will send the message that this is an acceptable form of behaviour. Remember, at all times your child will look up to you and copy your behaviour, so he will need you to handle a situation like this in the correct way. He will remember how you do this for many years to come.

How can you stay close to your Teenager as your relationship changes? It is a real challenge.

When your child becomes a teenager, the dynamics of your relationship changes dramatically, so you need to evolve and become a different kind of role model. He will be mixing with a wide variety of individuals independently of you and it is important that you remain consistent in how you behave towards him. ‘Work hard … play hard’, is a very important philosophy you need to get through to your teenager, and to do this, you must lead by example.

As he will be trying new things during these years and following your example (where it suits him of course) try to avoid doing anything to excess yourself. While he needs to understand that he can enjoy himself, this must be linked to working hard, particularly at school. Therefore, he needs to see the example of ‘normal acceptable behaviour’ coming from his father.

It is vitally important that your child feels he can still communicate with you openly while he is a teenager. So this will be one of your biggest challenges during the next few years. So keeping all lines of communication open between you both is vital, and will influence strongly how your relationship with him develops. However difficult and awkward the subject is, you can never have a ‘bad conversation’ with your child, only a good one, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. With all the challenges facing him during this period of his life, this is where you will really benefit from the investment in time and effort you made with him during his earlier years.

It is during that period where you have laid the foundations, to allow you to stay connected during the extremely challenging times ahead of you. Your child is still very vulnerable when he is a teenager, but he neither believes nor realises this, and he will get sick of hearing you telling him this. He will be rebellious and very difficult to manage at times, so, your role really is to guide him through this stage of his life. Don’t worry, he will come out the other side, every child does, and hopefully with a sense of independence and respect for you, his mother, as well as other people. He will need this sense of value and perspective when he becomes an adult.

Have fun with your baby right from the start. Even the mundane things can be a huge enjoyment for you both…..

Don’t be afraid to change your baby’s nappies right from the very first time she arrives home. Make it a fun time as well, by singing little songs, or tickling your baby’s feet or tummy while you do it. Subconscious bonding occurs while you do this, as she smiles at you, and you smile back at her. Each time you do this, you are reinforcing the link and love between you. Such a mundane yet intimate task as changing a nappy, lays the seeds for a very strong and involved relationship between you and your child as she grows up.

Whenever possible, try to be present for every bath time. Get used to holding your baby in the water, while you wash her. This will give you the confidence to handle her in a potentially dangerous situation, and create trust between you and your baby. It will be another reinforcement for your growing bond together as well.

Make sure you make bath time fun. This is a part of the day that you and your baby can really enjoy. Once the job of being washed is out the way, serious play time can begin, even when your baby is very small. Always keep little floating ducks or balls in the bathroom that she can push around the bath. When she is so small, you should always hold her very firmly with one hand.

Let her splash you while you pretend to be shocked. Your baby will love the staged expressions on your face as you get wet.

To avoid mishaps with your baby, always check first with your partner when you get home. If you don’t, who knows what can happen…………..but always keep it in perspective.

In my excitement to see my children after a day at work, I almost always forgot to ask whether they had been winded after their evening feed. In my enthusiasm for a cuddle it caused many accidents, many of which were totally unexpected.

One Friday evening I came home after a day at work and picked up our daughter. As usual, I didn’t ask my wife any questions, put her on my shoulder, where she promptly vomited all down the back of my jacket. It was Friday, so I was pretty relaxed and just changed it. My wife and I were going to neighbours for drinks, the babysitter had arrived and with a new jacket on, off we went.

After 45 minutes of hugs and hellos we were chatting to a group of friends when suddenly one said, “Mark, what the heck’s that on your trousers?” You guessed it, my little princess had puked right down my trouser legs too and I hadn’t noticed. At that moment everyone worked out what the unusual smell had been (I think the parents of babies become immune to the scent of milky vomit) and a bit of ribbing and exaggerated gagging ensued for the rest of the evening.

It’s a fact, babies will be sick on you. Of course, this may mean you have to take your stuff to the dry cleaners, but who cares. Your child didn’t do it on purpose, even if she is smiling at you and has that unspoken look on her face ‘caught you out there dad didn’t I?’ She certainly didn’t have any ulterior motives for doing it, so don’t blow it out of perspective.

It’s not worth getting upset or annoyed when this happens. It will happen to you many times, but in the end, it is always worthwhile when you see your child’s little smile after she has got rid of the wind in her tummy.