Fatherhood has changed across the U.S. Today’s dads are more involved in their families and in their children’s lives than ever before. They’re just as likely as Moms to rate parenting as extremely important to their identity and they rate the experience as rewarding, enjoyable and fulfilling, according to the Pew Research Center.
Interestingly, although Dads are really “up” on the experience, many still feel they’re not doing enough; only 39 percent give themselves a very good score.
Time to ease up, Dads! You’re doing a lot better than you think … and everyone is noticing! Still, it’s a natural thing for you to want to do better. So, in that spirit, the mental health professionals at New Vista.org have some ideas about becoming an even more awesome dad. Remember, it only takes a moment to make a moment!
The “DAD” Joke
That’s right, there’s no one more qualified to tell the corny Dad joke than you! Here are some to file away in your memory and pull out at an appropriately embarrassing time (oh come on, you know you love it):
What did the football coach say to the vending machine? I need a quarter back!
Would you like to hear a pizza joke? Never mind. It’s too cheesy!
Why shouldn’t you write with a broken pencil? Because it’s pointless!
How many apples grow on an apple tree? All of them!
Want more like those? Check out Fatherhood.gov to find more jokes that will help you keep the mood light and the kids laughing or ask your smart speaker to tell you a joke.
Take care of you, too!
Taking care of your kids starts with taking care of yourself. What’s even better is when you can combine the two into a memory.
Take the kids fishing. There’s nothing like celebrating that first catch (and you’ll talk about it for years to come).
Make a habit of eating regular, healthy meals with your kids. Families that eat together are closer, healthier and happier.
Get enough sleep. It’s hard sometime, but sleep is foundational!
Don’t keep it bottled inside. If something’s troubling you, talk about it with your spouse, a trusted family member or a counselor.
Play and teach
Dads are the best at play! And there’s no greater reward than the giggles and squeals of a child. Things to do with kids (that you already knew but probably forgot):
Play I Spy. You can make it teachable by focusing on colors, numbers or letters.
Remember Simon Says and Mother May I? (Or how about Dad May I?)
Play card and board games together.
Build something together – a bird house, a box, a chair. It doesn’t matter!
Share your hard-earned skills with your kids: dribbling a basketball, tossing a softball or making a sandwich! It’s all about the memories.
Show your love
Have a silly face contest
Tell your corny Dad jokes
Share a funny story from your childhood
Wear your shirt inside out or backward and see how long it takes for the kids to notice
Do a wild dance
Make up a crazy story!
Have your child teach you something they know
Get outside. Play catch. Look for bugs in the yard. Fly a Kite. Plant a seedling and watch it grow.
Write your child a note to let them know how proud you are of them
Tell your child each day how lucky you are to be their Dad
The most important thing to remember is no one is perfect. Trying is what matters … and the result with be cherished memories of an awesome Dad.
In 1966, New Vista was the first community mental health center in Kentucky. From that date, our mission has been clear, we exist to help children, adults and families live their best life. For more information about services available through New Vista call our 24-hour helpline at 1.800.928.8000.