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Given busy careers and hectic schedules, how do dads carve out quality time to spend with their kids? And is there such a thing as “quality time” in the first place?

According to Danny, children just want to spend time with their parents. They don’t judge us on the quality of that time. In fact, any time spent between father and child will help lay the foundation for a strong bond between them for life.

Says Danny, “If you don’t let them be involved in your life, they won’t want you to be involved in theirs.”

Be there or be square

Involvement doesn’t mean just showing up at a Meet-the-Parents session at school. It means being there for your child both in work and in play.

Danny stresses that dads should allow their children to be a part of their daily lives too. For older children, bringing them along to the grocery store or when you are running errands can also foster a sense of involvement for both father and child.

Have a consistent routine

Consistency is the foundation of the bond between father and child. Consistency gives children a sense of security because they know what to expect from their fathers. For example, if you give your child a hug every day after work, soon he will be running to meet you at the door for his daily hug. In short, turn something special into a routine.

Danny recommends putting aside a specific time, for example, dinner, for dads to catch up with their kids on a daily basis. Consistency shows your child that he can count on you to be there for him when he needs you.

Don’t mix signals

However, if sometimes you give him a hug and sometimes you yell at him because you had a bad day, then your child won’t know what to expect from you. So don’t expect your child to run to you with hugs and kisses the day you do come home in a good mood!

Stay informed

Michael, a father to two girls aged 11 and 8 years old, and who travels frequently due to his job as a senior manager in a real estate company, has some innovative yet simple ways that he uses to gain a deeper awareness into his daughters’ world.

He says “ I make it a point to go on two holidays a year with my children. It doesn’t have to be anywhere expensive, so long as we get to spend time together as a family. During these trips I try to be as hands on as possible, which is why I never to bring any helpers along either.”

On a day to day basis, he tries to make it home by 7pm, because his daughters go to bed at 9pm. “I then have time to chit chat with them and pray with them before I tuck them into bed. Praying with them allows me to know what’s troubling them or what’s on their minds. By saying a prayer that addresses their concerns, I know they are going to bed happy and secure.”

Another father does his work at the desk where his daughters study. By listening to their conversation he gains insights into their lives and gets to know them better.

Be warmer

Most dads tend to be more distant compared to mums, and some men may even feel uncomfortable showing affection outwardly. But it is important to let your kids know they can depend on you to take care of them.

Though some dads may not feel comfortable with physical displays of affection, they need to make an effort to be warm towards their kids in their tone, manner and behavior. Studies have shown that cold fathers tend to have children with a higher rate of behavioral problems.

Some examples of nurturing include taking care of their needs, helping them out or teaching them things like how to ride a bike.

Patrick, a manager in the hospitality industry and dad to a six month old, says “Though I work long hours and my baby girl is often in bed when I get home, I make an effort to bathe her, change her diapers, take her for walks and play with her on weekends.”

Changing poopy diapers may not seem like much but it shows his daughter that she can depend on dad as much as she can on mum.

By following the above principles with a little creativity and a lot of heart, you too can lay the foundation to building a life-long strong bond with your children. LWB

Spare the rod and save the child | Father time | How to be a fantastic father | Que Sera, Sera | Rich dad, poor dad

 
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