The following is a post from Dave Sniadak, Minnesota-based award winning video and PR guy by trade and NFL videographer for fun, Dave is Creative Director at Axiom and writes at his blog HDHubby. Follow him on Twitter @DaveSniadak. Dave writes this story as part of NFI's "The 12 Dads of Christmas: 12 Dads. 12 Stories. 12 Memories." If you are interested in writing about your most memorable Christmas, send us an email.
For me, Christmas was always a magical time of year. Where I lived growing up, we almost always had snow - lots of it - but not bitter biting, freeze your nose off cold that kept you locked up in the house. I would spend hours rolling snowmen and exploring the backwoods behind our house, checking for tracks and remnants of elves sneaking around the yard. And while I never went into the holiday season with a set expectation of what I'd get from Santa, he certainly never disappointed.
My favorite Christmas was the year I got two of my most memorable gifts - cross country skis, and a Nintendo Entertainment System. While most of my friends would have holed themselves up in their rooms playing Super Mario Brothers, I strapped on my skis and explored the great outdoors. This took my winter treks to a whole new level. That said, I did spend a lot of time playing Tecmo Bowl over the next twelve months.
The one thing that was missing during all this self-exploration and technological enrichment? My dad. He was around, don't get me wrong, and as I learned later in life, he was pretty much responsible for making sure Santa took care of me. But at 11, 12, 13, who wanted to play Duck Hunt with your dad? And when it came to carving out tracks in the yard with my new skis, well, that was a solo adventure all the way. For my father, I believe, seeing the excitement and joy we had in playing with the presents "Santa" left under the tree was all he needed. Or was it? I haven't broached the subject with him out of fear of what he might actually say - that I turned him away from opportunities to play with me because I was so absorbed in my own world that I couldn't let him in.
Now, as a father myself, I see the same joy and exuberance in my own children's eyes when they tear into a new present. But as my kids celebrate the carnage that ensues during Christmas Morning, I feel a longing to play, just as much as they do. I actively participate in the building of Lego sets, toast to the holidays during tiny tot tea parties, and race toy cars along the table top. During all of this, I can't help but think, "Should I take a step back? Do I need to lessen my role in their role playing to encourage self-confidence and spur imagination?"
The holiday cliche says 'tis better to give than to receive. Can this be applied to our interactions with our kids on this most magical of mornings? The memories we receive by giving our time to our kids should be a two-fold reward - good for us, but great for them, as it hopefully sets a standard for parent-child engagement. When it comes to Christmas, I don't ever want to grow too old to play - hopefully you won't either.
Happy holidays to you and yours!
Question: What makes Christmas special for you?
Visit our "12 Dads of Christmas" page for more on connecting with your family and other dads like you! Join in and share your most memorable Christmas by recording a video, sharing a picture, or posting a comment on this blog, Facebook or Twitter @TheFatherFactor. Use the hashtag #12DadsofXmas to connect!
If you are reading this, chances are good that you are already involved in your child’s life. Knowing this, we want to help make it easier for you to be involved and educated about the ages and stages of your child's development. We received such great feedback on our Ages and Stages Charts in the 24/7 Dad® curriculum - developed with contributions from Dr. Kyle Pruett and Dr. Yvette Warren - we decided to bring it you in a FREE online version!
The Countdown to Growing Up tool helps dads (and moms!) know about what to expect and not to expect in terms of child growth over the months and years.
You can also use the tool to make notes and save or print out your child's chart to take with you to a pediatrician visit for discussion if desired.
Be sure to click on the Complete Survey button once you have finished using the tool to give us your feedback. We'd GREATLY appreciate it!
To begin, simply enter the name of your child, then select his/her gender and age. If you have more than one child, we will provide you with an opportunity to enter his/her/their name(s) and age(s) after entering the information for your first child.
Depending on your child’s age, you will be taken through statements to answer Yes or No/Unsure for three targets: Physical Growth, Mental/Emotional Growth and Social Growth.
Please note, this tool is customized to track ages from birth to 18+ years and older.
For example, I chose to test "Fred," a five-year-old male for purposes of this review. For a five-year-old male, the Physical Growth milestone has statements like:
- Grows 2-3 inches but gains as little as 2-4 pounds a year. Children grow and gain weight at very different rates.
- Clearly right or left-handed.
- Learns to tie shoes.
You as the parent simply clicks YES or NO/Unsure box for each statement.
Using "Fred" as the example, the Mental/Emotional Growth milestone asks:
- Uses complete sentences with many words.
- Learns to name coins, colors, days of week, months.
- Takes basic care of self (dress, brush teeth).
- Helps with simple chores.
For the Social Growth milestone, statements such as:
- More settled and focused when with others.
- Begins to notice the outside world and where/how belongs.
- Enjoys doing things with parent of same sex.
Again, for you the mom and dad, it’s simple to click Yes or NO/Unsure for each item.
There is a section for "Additional Notes," which is optional for placing notes to yourself that will save and/or print with the PDF of the report.
Once you have chosen YES or NO/Unsure on each statement, you are taken to a list that reads: Milestones (Your Child) Has Reached. Below is an example from our test. Your report will be customized to your child's name, gender and age.
Additionally, a section is automatically created for your customized report that reads Milestones (Your Child) Has Not Reach, your additional notes from the previous page have now been added to the report.
Lastly, on the same report is invaluable “Tips to Help (Your Child’s Name) Grow" from physicians. This is free expert advice targeted directly at your child's gender and aged based on the information you provided in answering the statements. These tips from physicians offer you expert advice for what to watch for in your child's development as well as tips to help you grow your child.
Notice at the bottom of the above image, you have four options for what you can do with the customized report of your child:
1) View PDF
2) Save as PDF
3) Track Another Child
4) Complete a Brief Survey
Choosing “Save as PDF” will allow you to email it to yourself and then use it on your mobile device. For instance, if you have an iPhone or iPad, the PDF from your email can be saved in iBooks on your phone or iPad for easy, mobile and paperless reference at your child’s next doctor appointment.
There are two additional options, which are Track Another Child and Complete a Brief Survey. Please feel free to use this new and free tool for all of your children. Please also take a moment and complete our survey. We would love to hear feedback from you once you use the tool.
We know parents do not have a lot of time to study their children. We hope you this tool makes your life easier. Track your child’s growth today. Believe us, you will be prepared for your child's next visit to the doctor; and your doctor will never know how simple and easy it was for you!
Connect with The Father Factor by RSS, Facebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Dr. Ricky Choi tells of an "interview" he had with his daughter about starting kindergarten. Turns out, there was a big difference between his answers and his daugthers. Reading the conversation between Dr. Choi and his daugther may remind us dads to be more perceptive and listen to our child more intentionally. Whether your child is entering kindergarten or college, the lesson this parent learned is worth memorizing.
Dr. Choi writes his most recent column that he learned some things on his "last-hurrah-before-kindergarten-daddy-daughter trip." After waiting in Terminal 2 of the San Francisco Airport on a flight delay and knowing that kindergarten was fast-approaching, he was filled with new thoughts and emotions. He puts in words what so many have gone through or are going through as parents, the idea of "coming to terms with seeing my daughter as a more independent person." Choi then decides to take a break in the airport terminal and ask his daughter some questions about starting school.
Dr. Choi is not only a dad, he is a pediatrician. He spends his day tossing out parenting advice and telling parents to listen to their children. But Choi is honest and says, as a father, "his assumptions about his daughter's capabilities and view of what is best for her can put me out of touch with her actual day-to-day concerns." Isn't this true dads? Don't we often get sidetracked into what we THINK we know rather than what we really know about our kids.
Take time and read Dr. Choi's dialogue with his daughter. Choi asks his daughter honest questions about her feelings of starting school. He asks questions like:
What are you most excited to learn about?
What is the most important thing to remember in order to do well in kindergarten?
Read Choi's article and see how different each perspective is in the answers. For each question, Choi offers what he thought his daughter would say and what his daughter actually said. Armed with this new perspecitve, dads may learn to gain insight by listening first, then offering whatever is best needed; whether it be comfort or praise. This sounds elementary doens't it dads? But oh how difficult it is to listen!
For instance, Dr Choi asks his daughter, "What will be the hardest thing about going to kindergarten?" He expected her to say something like, "Challenging school lessons, homework, missing my family and the demands to be independent." Instead, her answer was, "Figuring out who will be my best friend."
Choi reveals a "telling difference" between what he expected to hear and what his daughter actually said. He observes, "I'm focused on her academic performance and meeting expectations. She is concerned about relationships with her friends and teacher."
He describes his conversation as a "humbling reminder to really pay attention -- and address what she cares about especially if I want to effectively impress on her the things I view as important." If we are honest as dads, we think we know what we are doing sometimes by offering advice or trying to "fix" things. The best approach may be offered after listening to what our child's actual concerns really are. Thanks, Dr. Choi, for making us dads see from a different angle...the angle of our child. We need this reminder in our busy lives.
We agree with Dr. Choi, parenting may have its ups and downs, but in the midst of all the emotions and expectations of a new school year; slow down, relax and listen to your child.
Parents: Where do you go to "get away" from everything, and listen to your son or daughter?
Week three of The Dad Games of 2012 is complete. Let week four begin!
The Dad Games challenges you to be “Gold Medal Dad.” Each week we provide you with a checklist of seven actions to use in connecting with your family. This week's challenge is Gold Medal Dads...Balance Work and Family.
Let’s face it, dad. Work has its responsibilities and so does family. Do you often feel like when you are doing well at work your familly is left to wait on you? Or if all is right on the homefront, then something at work needs attention? It can be difficult juggling all the responsibilites we dads have.
However, an important part of being a Gold Medal Dad is learning to manage the responsibilities of work and family. We will use the word “balance” this week; but we are really working to help you "manage" your responsibilities as leaders in the workplace and at home.
This week you will be challenged to be intentional about how you are prioritizing your work responsibilities alongside your family's needs. We can do a better job of working hard AND still show our families we love and value them.
Warning: this may be the most difficult week of challenges for you. This week may also be the most important and life-changing week for you as a leader. It's vital your co-workers, your wife/ex-wife and your children see you as the person who "has it together." Let's up our game, gentleman! Take the challenge and be a Gold Medal Dad!
Question: What’s the one thing you find most difficult about “balancing” work and family responsibilities?
To honor your efforts, we're giving away prizes including sports memorabilia signed by celebrity athletes and free gift packs of men's skin care products. Learn more about the prizes here.
How can you win?!
Enter to win by sharing your experiences and connecting with other dads in The Dad Games on Facebook, Twitter, and commenting on our blog (Get more info on how to enter here!).
Subscribe to the Dad Email™ and get The Dad Games weekly checklist in your inbox.
Visit Gold Medal Dads…Balance Work and Family for tips on how to rethink your priorities this week. Stay tuned during the week for more.
Share and connect with other dads this week on our blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).
As week two of The Dad Games draws to a close and week three begins (tomorrow), we take a moment to look back over a busy week at how we competed in Week 2: Gold Medal Dads…Communicate With Mom challenge. We dads have shared stories and been challenged to communicate with our wives and the mothers of our children in a more intentional and impactful way. We hope you enjoyed this week and were challenged as you connected with your spouse/former spouse using our checklist. It’s been another busy week, but as we close week two, we look back over the highlights from our social platforms to see how other dads are being challenged with The Dad Games the same as you.
Let these dads encourage you to get involved with The Dad Games. There’s three weeks left! But more importantly, be inspired to spend intentional time with you kids and family. Below are highlights from week 2:
What Gold Medal Dads Are Saying on the Blog
“Wonderful reflections! Thank you! One of the programs our agency facilitates is "Cooperative Co-Parenting" for divorcing couples. If only these couples addressed the healthy of their relationship before it was too late! It's critical to keep those connections fresh and loving day by day!” –Jan from The Parenting Network
“My wife and I have been married for 6 years and together for 12 years this September. First and foremost, we are best friends. I can say that honestly. Second, we talk and respect each other. We know each other's buttons and we try not to touch them during disagreements. That is huge in my son's life and will continue to be a big influence on his future relationships. As hard as it might seem, your wife comes first. After God, of course.” –Maury from Gold Medal Dad
What Gold Medal Dads Are Saying on Facebook
“You know you are a daddy when you stop watching the opening Olympic ceremony to go read a Dr. Seuss book to your loving daughter when she is calling you to read to her… ‘The Nose Book’” Allan Mendez
“Alot of good ideas here…As far is my advice...it's the little things that count. My wife most appreciates signs of affection, gentle touches throughout the day, hand squeeze, hugs for no reason…It keeps us close. Plus it's good for the children to see their parents expressing that closeness.” Jay Viviano
“You have to make it clear to your kids that they are important, but your wife (husband) are first. We still have date nights. I count down the time the kids have left before they move out.” Charles McKay
What Gold Medal Dads Are Saying on Twitter
“Does shoe shopping count as time together? : ) We have been looking for hours.” #DadGames12 via Chris Delgado (@cdel58)
“Gold medal dad weekly activity 2. Had a date night last night going to see batman and dinner with my wife.” #DadGames12 via @TheDadpreneur
“Marriage retreat will score you 100+ man points.” #DadGames12 via Jason Bruce (@JasonBruce)
Go Team Dad!
Week 2 may be drawing to a close but you can join us for Week 3! Stay tuned for more information as we challenge you to be a Gold Medal Dad by Affirming Your Kids!
What did you find most difficult about this week’s challenge?
Don’t forget to sign up for our Dad Email to get the weekly checklist.
Visit The Dad Games of 2012 for tips on how you can connect with your family.
Remember to share and connect with other dads on the blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).
This is a guest post by Dave Taylor. If you would like to guest post on this blog, email us here.
The “fantasy divorce” is that you and your partner come to a point in your lives when you realize you're just not happy, things just aren't going very well, and it would be in the best interest of your spouse and child(ren) to get a divorce and split into two separate households. In this “fantasy divorce” you'll still remain friends because you have this big life-long job of parenting that's not going to stop just because one of you leaves the house. As the years go by, you find there are things about the other person you remember you like and admire, and even when there are new partners added, you're all one big happy extended family and the kids grow up surrounded by peace, love and harmony…
…on the other hand, my experience has definitely not fit that “fantasy divorce” image…
By the time my wife and I decided to divorce, we'd been separated for almost a year. We then went through an incredibly difficult and contentious divorce where she had my business audited, we accused each other of being poor parents and various other things that demonstrate just how much we were both hurting -- things that were quite the opposite of the halcyon image suggested above. Mediators threw up their hands and quit on us, lawyers resigned after documents were signed, but we struggled through, trying to convince ourselves that it wasn't going too badly and since we both had the best interests of the children in mind, after all, somehow it would all end well.
Zoom forward three more years and I'm the statistically unlikely divorced dad who is highly involved with my children and we've settled on a schedule where our three kids are with me more than they are with their mom. There's still a lot of water flowing under the bridge, and there are still things we dislike about each other both as people and as parents, but we're trying to make it work.
So how the heck do we co-parent, and how do we keep the lines of communication open so we can have important discussions about our teen daughter, or our tween son's desire to be treated as if he's a high school senior, or our youngest (almost 9) and her fears around bedtime, not to mention the million day-to-day issues that crop up?
For us, it's worked out that we rarely if ever talk face-to-face, even at pick up/drop off, but instead use text messaging for immediate logistics -- "be there in five!" "do you know where their bike helmets are?" -- and email for more involved discussions, trying our very best to not judge each other, not criticize each other, and just stay focused on the topic at hand.
The myth of "walking away" from a relationship and moving to the next one, the lovely image of "turning a page" to a "new chapter" in your life, is great intention, but the reality is there are a lot of shared experiences with your former spouse, experiences that are expanded each and every time you have to communicate about your children and your co-parenting strategy, something that for us happens about every 2-3 days, and even more frequently during the school year.
With that much communication, I have no expectation that it'll be perfect and I'm not surprised when snark or petty criticism creeps in the messages I get from my ex. I expect I do the same. We're getting better, almost five years after we went our separate ways, but it's a long journey and I think it's important to recognize that our all-too-human foibles and weaknesses are just part of being an adult, a parent, and that if we have best intention and can endeavor to forgive the other person for being who they are - for better or worse - then we can proceed with the incredibly important job of co-parenting our beautiful children and making new lives for ourselves, without the ex being an invisible ball and chain around our ankles.
I don't have a perfect solution for communicating with your ex about your children; or how to create a healthy and mature arms-length partnership with them. There are reasons you got divorced, after all, and there's nothing more difficult than parenting, except perhaps parenting when the kids bounce between two households that are inevitably going to be different in rules, schedules and expectations.
Perhaps the real secret? Keep your attention on your children and keep a sense of humor about everything. Those wee ones are surprisingly resilient and odds are very good they'll grow up to be lovely adults so long as they grow up with an involved father.
What’s the best advice you ever received about communicating with your spouse/former spouse about parenting?
Visit Gold Medal Dads…Communicate with Mom for tips on how you can connect with your wife and/or the mother of your children. Remember to share and connect with other dads this week of The Dad Games on the blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).
This is a guest post by Dave Taylor. Dave writes about life as a single father when he's not mired in the chaotic lives of his three children. Read Dave’s blog and follow him on Twitter. If you would like to guest post on this blog, email us here.
photo credit: Manu gomi
Week 1 is in the books and week 2 is here. We had a blast last Thursday as many dads joined our Twitter party with questions, answers, tips and advice. Join National Fatherhood Initiative (@TheFatherFactor) as we host a Twitter Party for week 2 with great prizes to get dads ready for Communicating with Mom this week!
Get full details about The Dad Games 2012.
Join us tonight at 9PM EST as we share advice and tips for this week's topic of how to connect with your wife and the mother of your children.
Last week's party was a great time to conenct with other dads and be motivated to work through the action steps of the checklist. Remember, we're becoming Gold Medal Dads to our help impact our kids, our wives/kids’ moms and our family.
This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Communicate With Mom.
Make sure you have our checklist with seven ideas of how you can work at your relationship.
Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.
During tonight’s Twitter party, we’ll walk through some of the challenges for the week and share stories and ideas of how to win Gold by connecting with your spouse or the mother to your kids.
Bring your advice, tips and questions!
Be sure you’re following @TheFatherFactor and using the hashtag #DadGames12 for all your tweets.
Two prize winners will be selected from among Twitter party participants and notified at close of party. Be active at the party to increase your chances of winning!
What can you win? See the Dad Games prizes.
#DadGames12 Prize from Dove® Men+Care®:
Dove® Men+Care® celebrates men who are comfortable in their own skin and understand the importance of caring for themselves and others. One Twitter party participant will win an autographed sports item from a legend and the new collection of Dove® Men+Care® products to keep you literally comfortable in your own skin.
#DadGames12 Prize from Gillette:
Gillette has a series of limited edition Olympic-packaged products in suppport of their ongoing partnership with the Olympic Movement and their 25 Olympic athletes including Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay. One Twitter party participant will win a gift package of Gillette’s Olympic-themed products - plus a fatherhood book from NFI.
When: Thursday, July 26 at 9PM EST
To get next weeks Dad Games checklist directly to your email inbox, sign up for our Dad Email. Go Dads!
With one week of The Dad Games of 2012 under our belts, we're ready for week 2!
In case you missed the first week, the Dad Games challenges you to be a Gold Medal Dad in five areas of fathering. Each week we're giving Dad's a checklist of seven actions to take in order to connect with the family.
To honor your efforts, we're giving away prizes from our corporate partners, including sports memorabilia signed by celebrity athletes and free gift packs of men's skin care products. Learn more about the prizes here.
You can enter to win by telling us about your experiences in The Dad Games on Facebook, Twitter, and commenting on our blog (Get more info on how to enter here!).
This week, The Dad Games challenges you to be a Gold Medal Dad by Communicating with Mom. We're challenging you with seven actions you can take to connect with your wife/kids' mom.
Whether you are married or not, it's important to invest in communicating with the mother of your children. When it comes to parenting, it's important your kids see you have a healthy relationship with their mom.
As we go through this week's challenge, we'll talk about marriage and divorce. We have a guest blog planned from a happily married Dad who will discuss relationship struggles with his wife and adjusting to children. We also have a guest blog planned from a single dad. He will give tips and advice on how to handle parenting when couples are separated by divorce.
For some, this may be your week to change how you relate to your ex-wife. As you read through the steps as a married person or not, us Dads will have to be creative in how to apply each of these steps. It will be work.
Use our Facebook and Twitter platforms to connect with other Dads and talk through the action steps. This is a week to get better. For some, this may be a week to start over from scratch in how you have been dealing with your child's mom. Either way, get creative and be intentional in how you connect with your wife and/or the mother of your children.
We'll help with ideas later in the week for each action step, so stay tuned. This will be a tough but rewarding week for married and divorced dads alike.
Are you ready for this week's challenge?
Visit our Communicating with Mom page for more information and to get this week's checklist.
We had a blast sharing stories and being challenged to spend time with our kids this week. We hope you connected with your children throughout our challenge.
Through our blog, Facebook page and Twitter stream, we not only connected with our children, we connected with other dads.
Dads, we can be intentional and spend quality and quantity time with our children. We can make an impact on our kids' lives.
It’s been a busy week. Check out hightlights of what dads who are competing in The Dad Games are saying! Below is a snapshot of the first week. Remember, you can join at any time!
What Dads Are Saying on the Blog
Spent the day with my daughter today. Went to lunch, spent time reading at the local bookstore and pre-shopping at the mall for back to school. --Sean Nixon
Camping is a great way to spend time with your children. There are a variety of cool aspects to camping, allowing you to explore with you kids and do things together. You can really connect with your child during this time of relaxation and enjoyment. I know from first hand experience. I've been camping with my own kids for several consecutive years now. It's a blast! --Dan Rayner
I recently purchased kayaks for myself, my wife and my nine-year-old daughter. For quality time with my daughter, I took her to the nearby lake and we spent the afternoon kayaking and talking. She loved the exercise and I loved the small talk with my little girl. --Chuck Wooddy
Love the idea of the 2012 Dad Games! Had a ball yesterday riding the go-kart, bike riding, reading, etc. Summer has been great overall, but it's nice to have the "challenge" placed in front of me as well as other Dad's. --Tim Myers
Dad Games 2012. Great idea to inspire us guys to be better fathers. My little girl is 1. I read a couple of books to her today. The most important time to me is when we both can take a nap together during the day. Lets do work DADS!! --Robert Witcher
My son and I have colored, played Batman, fixed the kitchen tile in my grandfather's house, read a few books, and the week ain't over yet. :) Thanks for the fishing tips. My son is afraid of pretty much every animal so fishing is a no-go for a while anyway. –Maury Wood
What Dads Are Saying on Facebook
I am a single dad. My daughter is 12 years old for the last 4 years she has been doing fundraising to help kids go to church camp. This past sat. 7/14 she did a car wash we washed cars for 4hrs in june she did a garage sale and bake sale this is how we spend a lot of our time and the hard work of helping others it is fun to help my daughter do what makes her fill good. --Doug Tripp
I've taken four of my children to work with me on my side job this week so I can spend some time with them and so they can see what a hard days work is. --Billy D Vickers
Me, my son, and my daughter a ping pong table on Friday. Saturday we went to the circus in the morning and then went straight to Splashtown waterpark right after. We had such a wonderful time! --Matt Taylor
My daughter Savannah and I spent all weekend at a Girls Scout camp for Girl Scouts and their family members. We rode horses, hiked, did crafts, archery, low ropes, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was one of the best times ever!!!!! --Mike Parish
Yes, from bringing them to work to having "special lunches" while @ work to fun dinners, late night dips in the pool . Movies ordering pizza late at night to all falling asleep together on the same couch.. Loved every second of it! --Will Hamilton
Not this week but last week was great, went home on a pass before I deploy to spend 4 days with my little girl. I took her and my niece swimming 2 days, ate together everyday, took some naps and held her close, seen the new Ice Age movie and spent every moment I was there with her. I can't wait to get back to her! --Lee Whited
What Dads Are Saying on Twitter
Told wife my main goal is to make her happy. She said 1 of the best things I've ever said. Show kids u love mom. #DadGames12 @maurydwood2
I took my daughter to a movie and then bowling.....but we play xbox daily #DadGames12 @chefydaddy
Saturday mornings we go get bagels and give Mom the morning off! #DadGames12 @bfalvey
I was missing too much so left high-paying job so could work part-time & spend more time raising my kids #dadgames12 @GeekDad248
Making up dance moves to songs like Call Me Maybe in our chairs once dinner is done. #DadGames12 @cdel58
Meal time is our listening and giggling time. 3.5yr old tells antics of day. Sometimes tattles on herself #Dadgames12 @jon_wilke
My son and I read a National Geographic Kids magazine last night and a dinosaur alphabet book #DadGames12 @candyland0606
Singing The Duck Song with my kids. Grand time quacking together before bed time #DadGames12 @JasonBruce
Getting spanked by my kids in UNO. #DadGames12 @ctramosono
Great job, Dads! Keep up the good work!
Week 1 may be over, but you can still join us for Week 2! Stay tuned for more information as we challenge you to be a Gold Medal Dad by Communicating with Mom!
Don’t forget to sign up for our Dad Email to get this week’s checklist. Then share how you’re competing with other dads during the week.
Spending time with your kids can be difficult. I’m talking the real, intentional time. I don’t mean the time like when you’re in the same room with your kids but you’re on your phone streaming twitter while your daughter plays in the background because you have a job in social media and must retweet that quote from that guy who said that thing about fathering…wait…I flashed-back to last night at my house. Sorry.
Enter The Dad Games of 2012 – the challenge to all of us dads to work toward being the "Gold Medal Dads" our kids need. This week's challenge is to actually spend time and undivided attention with our kids…well, please snap a pic and tag NFI on Facebook/Twitter for The Dad Games program, but after that…actually spend time and undivided attention with your children.
Yes, we're giving dads chances to win autographed sports memorabilia & summer gift sets from Dove® Men+Care® by telling us about your experience participating in The Dad Games with your children. But the important thing is that you’re spending time with your kids.
We know your time is divided among many things, but investing in your children with your time is invaluable for connecting and influencing your children.
If you didn’t print this week’s Dad Games checklist do it now, we'll wait....okay, you're back. Now, Here’s the point behind our seven ideas for this week:
1) Gather the Family for a Meal
Enjoying a family meal together is one of the best ways to connect as a family. It’s an opportunity to discuss the highs and lows of the day and talk in detail about what you’re children are learning each day. Check out our tips to help you make family mealtime easy and meaningful!
2) Read to Your Child
If you have young children, read to them. Use deep voices for some character and high voices for others. Be animated. Your kids need to hear their dad’s voice.
Reading allows for bonding with your children like nothing else.
Think about how close you have to be to read to someone. You wouldn’t sit and read to a stranger on a bus. That would be weird. Reading is a great way to connect with your kids, if only for a few minutes. Be warned, you won’t be able to read only one book. Your kids will beg for more!
Dads of older kids: read the same books your children are interested in. This will take extra effort, but at least take time to discuss the latest book they’re reading. Ask good questions about the books and characters like, "Which character in the book is your favorite? Why?" The point is to connect with your child on a deeper level than asking “how was your day?” Then they answer, “Good.” And then the talk ends.
NFI’s tips on making reading fun will work well if you feel like you don’t know how to get started with this activity.
3) Interact in Play With Your Child
Do something with your child that he/she enjoys. Let them pick the thing. Whether it’s getting on the floor and playing with dolls or trucks, get on your child’s level and play.
For older children: do something they like, such as playing video games or walking around the mall – be invested and interested in your child intentionally for this activity.
4) Dad-Kid Dates
Whether you have a son or daughter, take time to go out for ice cream, eat together or take a walk. The point is to spend individual time with your child. If you have more than one child, work toward children getting their own individual time with you. (If you can pull this activity off with multiple children, please write us in the comments and give your advice on making this happen!)
5) Get Active
Engage your children in physical activity. It will bond you together and help build healthy habits. From riding a bike, basketball, or walking in a nearby park, you can be intentional about getting out from the normal routine and get active this week.
6) Get Creative
This may be as simple as coloring together if you have young children or involving your child in fixing something around the house. Consider cooking together for this activity. From the trip to the store to preparation, use the time to connect with your child and talk about life while you do something that you have to do anyway – eat!
7) Family Game Night
Did you have family game night growing up? Whether your family played board games or not when you were a kid, the idea here is to have fun and get the family together and playing. We have suggestions for games to suit all ages and ideas to make game time fun for kids.
At NFI, we know that children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social and emotional level when measured by social science researchers. Keep up the good work, dads! Stay strong through the weekend! Go for gold!
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photo credit: kevin dooley