My husband and I are on this journey of parenting together and I often chat to dads about their kids. One thing I’ve noticed is that the online world of parenting is more skewed towards mums than dads so I’m really excited today to bring you this article – 6 Ways for a Dad to Create a Brilliant Summer – from the point of view of Han-Son, founder of DaddiLife, a parenting website for dads that covers a range of parenting topics but from a dads point of view. With the summer holidays zooming in over the horizon, we all need to get our thinking caps on and be prepared!
6 Ways for a Dad to Create a Brilliant Summer
Whether you’re a father with new born babies or older children, summer is the ideal time for some brilliant dad bonding. Part of this is because the sun itself is so important to childhood development so finding any excuse for dad’s and their kids to soak up the rays is always beneficial.
It also goes without saying that the more time a father spends with their young children the closer their bond will be. Even if the child in question is too young to actively participate, trying to include them in even the smallest ways is important. With that in mind, we have created 6 ways in which dads can create a brilliant summer for themselves and their kids.
1. Start a Building Project
Building something or any form of crafts with kids is a time-honoured tradition. Its been shown time and time again that one of the first joys children develop is the ability to make a mark on something and so getting their help with building something together is the perfect way for them to express it. Now, safety must always come first and if there is worry about the child getting hurt there are plenty of ways to keep them engaged without any risk at all.
Let the child be in charge. They will have big dreams and so long as they are not promised anything unreasonable it will be amazing for them to see their plans brought to life.
The key lies in including them even if they are not able to directly make anything. This means getting their input the whole way through and stopping to consult with them and get their approval even when it is not strictly necessary.
2. Go for Scenic Walks
For children young enough to be carried or old enough to take confident strides on their own two feet a long walk is a great way to spend time together. Even if they’re too young to remember any specifics the beauty of the natural world is a great way to inspire even the youngest minds and fill them with curiosity.
For those that are old enough to walk on their own, the route will need to be tailored to them. The best way is to drive to a remote spot and then go on a little circuit. If it is possible to avoid backtracking that is always best since it is good for your child to feel like they can get somewhere by moving forwards. Make a game out of it, convince your child that they’re leading you back to the car or basecamp. Speaking of which…
This doesn’t even need to be a big, elaborate production. Simply pitch a tent in the back garden and tell stories of adventure. If it is possible to avoid looking at the house or any other buildings then all the better. The trick is to try and create a sense of the wilds without having to go anywhere.
Props are a great way to facilitate this, especially ones filled with adventure are the perfect way to kickstart the imagination into fantastical realms. Add fun food and a small fire to cook it over and the garden will soon become indistinguishable from an ancient forest or lost jungle.
4. Find Opportunities in the Little Things
Not everything needs to be a particular planned event. Camping expeditions, crafts and other activities are all well and good but they tend to be special, infrequent events.
One of the best ways for a father and his child to bond is to make a game out of everything. There is always a way to get your child involved using whatever is to hand as a prop. If you are carrying the shopping in, make it a race. If you are hanging out the washing then use it for an impromptu hiding game. Get creative and use whatever is to hand. Challenge yourself to make the most mundane thing, actually quite exciting.
5. Find the Lesson
Many activities can be turned into great learning opportunities. This doesn’t mean you should take every chance to deliver a lecture or try and force early times tables. I always remember reading a few new dad books before I became a father and it encouraged me to ask the questions that mattered. Encourage your child to ask questions too! Never tell them that something is silly and if you do not know the answer, admit it and then go with them to look it up. Encourage learning and show them that there is nothing wrong with looking for answers.
6. Try Everything
When they are young, kids are going to be into pretty much everything. The great thing about summer is that it presents opportunities to try everything. Whether they decide that they want to make stuff or they suddenly want to be an athlete you should encourage them and try and set something up. They may not be able to actually be an astronaut but there is no reason you cannot find a way to pretend. Get inventive with your props and your child will have a great time. For example, even your dad socks make a great way to make cheap puppets at a moments notice for instant silly animal companions. So long as you have your imagination and encourage your kids to use theirs there is no limit to what you can do.
You can read more of Han-Son’s writing on his website, DaddiLife as well as follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’re definitely going to take some of this great advice this summer. How about you?