A Father should be prepared to do anything to help his child out of an unexpected situation.

A father can be called upon to help his child out at any time of day or night. This happened unexpectedly to me once with my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, when I had to play in a mother’s netball match. The plan had been that my wife was playing in the match with all the other children’s mothers. Unfortunately that morning, my wife was unexpectedly unable to play. My daughter was distraught, and was going to be the only girl whose parent was not going to be playing against her. I was due to go to work that day, but saw that she was so upset, I suggested that I would take a days holiday and play in her mother’s place. I had never seen a child so relieved on the one hand and yet overjoyed on the other.

I explained to my daughter that I didn’t even know the rules of netball, but if she could explain them to me in five minutes, then I would have a go. And I did! I made a complete fool out of myself, but my daughter was so proud, it was totally worth it. In fact it was really good fun and to see the joy on my daughter’s face, was simply magical.

During the match, I had to mark my daughter, and she of course, beat me most of the time, in fact all the time. But it was wonderful to experience and be part of such a special occasion. And of course, I was the first father to play in a mother’s netball match in the schools history. So my legacy was sealed! My daughter was not the only person who was proud that day, I was almost as proud as her. It was one of those really special childhood moments, when I knew that I had done something that my daughter would remember for the rest of her life.

She still reminds me today, of what it meant to her. So, as a father, whatever your child needs in an unexpected situation, be prepared to do the necessary. It will be remembered for many years to come and will strengthen still further the special bond between you.

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You can make Christmas even more magical for your child. A little ingenuity goes a long way, but beware very observant little eyes……

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. If you can, 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 very early, 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. 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.

Be part of your child’s life even before she is born. Talk to her while she is still in your partners tummy………………

Hearing your voice as well as its mother’s is part of the bonding process. Your unborn child hears its mother’s voice every time she says anything while it is developing inside her, but it is also important that your child hears your voice as often as possible as well. Your baby also needs to feel your touch as you caress her through her mother’s tummy. The amazing journey of fatherhood begins now.

It takes two to make a baby and it definitely takes two to bring one up. The easy part is making it, the hardest and also the most rewarding part, is bringing it up. Getting to the end of the road, if there ever really is an end of the road, is an incredible achievement and a truly satisfying and wonderful experience.

So when it’s time for your baby to be born, you should do your utmost to be present at the birth if at all possible. The three most moving and profound moments of my life were the births of my own children and I am sure it will be the same for you. I can remember each one as if they occurred, as if it was just yesterday. I know very occasionally circumstances can be out of your control and therefore it isn’t possible, but with good planning, you can try to minimise the chance of you missing it.

If you can do this, you will feel you are an integral part of the arrival of your child into this world and that you aren’t a peripheral figure to everything that is going on. Try to hold your baby before the umbilical cord is cut. She will see your face before she sees her mothers. Of course it is not a competition to see who is loved the most, but it is important that the bonding between you and your child is cemented the moment she comes into this world.

It will be the natural progression of the bond which you started developing with her before she was born and it will be one of the foundations of the relationship you will develop with her throughout her entire life.

 

Managing your child when he is a Toddler is one of the most challenging and rewarding periods of his childhood.

Well, you made it through those early months, and now you have the Toddler years to look forward to. These can be really fun years as your child grows and develops. He will look up to you and learn very quickly from you, whether it is how to hit a ball, ride a bicycle, learn nursery rhymes, or simply socialise with other people. His brain is like a sponge and everything you do will be observed and taken in. Sometimes you will only realise exactly what he has registered when you are least expecting it. So be ready to be surprised.

Some people say that the mother is the most important point of reference for your child during these early years. This may seem to be the case, but don’t let it put you off. I believe you are both as important as each other, only in different ways.

These initial years can have a huge impact on the closeness of your relationship with your child later on. Trust, respect, and love is built up during these early years, and all of these will help you overcome the challenges that lie ahead as they grow up. They will allow you to be truly involved with your child and be able to offer a balanced upbringing to him. You will never be a peripheral figure to your child, and together with your partner, you will be taking just as important role as she does. Remember, you as his father, also have a duty to be involved in every aspect of his life.

The few years when your child is a toddler can be very tiring and stressful high energy stuff. They are so inquisitive and want to discover so much and so quickly, but their attention span is very short. Beware they can be a danger to themselves without you watching over them. When you couple your toddler’s naivety and inexperience with their sudden energy spurts, you have to balance the need to let them discover and explore life, with the need to keep them safe themselves.

These are also really fun times, as you and your partner are the total centre of your child’s universe. This is a huge responsibility, as you are your Toddler’s idol, role model, comforter, play mate, provider and protector. However, the sense of satisfaction and joy for you, not to mention for your child, during these years, as you build closer and closer bonds, is nothing short of incredible.

When the inevitable challenges of bringing him up present themselves, which they certainly will, hopefully you will feel that you have some potential options and solutions. And trust me, there will definitely be some occasions where you feel you need some.

 

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.

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’.

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.

 

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.

Get involved with your baby right from the start.

One of the most intimate and moving moments of your life will be the arrival of your baby into this world. The sheer magic and awe at being present at the dawning of this new miracle of human life will stay with you for the rest of your life. It will be the most meaningful and emotionally charged event you have ever experienced and yet it will seem to go by ‘in the blink of an eye’.

Before the birth you may have lots of qualms about seeing blood, or seeing your partner in pain and being there in such a highly charged emotional situation, so you may be hesitant initially. The significance of the occasion once your partner goes into labour will make you forget about all those concerns. The more you realise that this is something so life changing and so profound, the more you will want to be there. It will be even more meaningful for you, as you will have been communicating with your baby and touching him through his mother’s tummy for the last six months.

Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you, as a father to be, do everything to make sure that you are there at the birth of your child and witness his arrival into this world.

Hold him as soon as he is born and you will see and feel immediately the intimate and unique bond between you. When you first look into his eyes as his father and reflect that this little being is part of you, it will start immediately. You will never ever forget that moment. It will remain as vivid in your mind for many years into the future, as the day he was born.