Ready to be an awesome dad? If you’re reading this, you already are! But here are 5 easy ways to level up your dad-game right now.
Practice a Calm Voice
Many dads have deep, loud voices. Of course it’s not always true, but dads can come off as intimidating. One of the best positive parenting tools you can practice, especially if you have a loud, intimidating voice, is the use of a calm voice.
It sounds simple. But it’s actually incredibly difficult.
When you’re exhausted, stressed, or busy, it can be difficult to remain calm. When you’re emotional or rushed, it’s difficult to keep your cool.
But if you can master this skill, you’ll be shocked at the impact it will have on your kids and your relationship with your kids.
Why? Kids feed off your energy. When you escalate, they escalate. It’s human nature. Try this experiment: the next time someone stairs to raise their voice when talking to you, lower the volume of your voice (almost to a whisper). Most likely, the other person will instinctively lower the voice to match your volume and tone.
So how do you stay calm in the midst of chaos? Here are a few tips to help you keep your cool.
- Practice simple calming strategies or leave yourself sticky notes to remind you to practice your calm voice.
- Avoid conflict by controlling the environment (kids fighting over the purple kinetic sand? Put it up for the day. Everyone plays with blue sand today!)
- Get active, especially outside. When kids move their bodies, they are more cooperative and behave better.
- Get yourself organized. Use a calendar, a planner, or a digital reminder app.
Get on Their Level
Imagine you’ve just landed a new job and your boss is a giant, towering over you. You’re still new, learning the ropes. And every time you don’t do things exactly his way, the boss looks down, waving his finger, scolding you. It would not be a good feeling.
So avoid being the perfect giant standing over your kids telling them what to do. Instead, get down on their level, use your calm voice, and have a real conversation with them.
Remember, kids will mimic your behavior. If you respond to frustrating situations by yelling, they will too. If you respond by connecting face-to-face to resolve the issue, they’ll follow your example!
Connect Every Day
A huge part of parenting is connecting. It only takes a few minutes a day to build on your connection with your kids.
What does it mean to connect? It’s giving your child your undivided attention and truly engaging. It means no screen distractions. If you’re consistent about building this into your routine, your kids will start to look forward to it! And they will likely open up with you.
Need a little help connecting? Try our 15 Day Connected Parenting Challenge.
Reading together has so many benefits for kids. It can improve their academic performance, fosters their imagination, and most importantly, builds a bond with you.
You don’t have to read Charlotte’s Web. Think outside the box. Expose your kids to the literature you love. Did you enjoy reading Harry Potter books as a kid? Read them outloud together. Not a huge fan of chapter books? No problem. Read comics together.
You might discover common interests (Tony Stark maybe? He’s my Avenger of choice) that you can bond over on a regular basis!
Prioritize Adult Relationships
This may sound counterintuitive, but one of my best parenting tips for dads is to prioritize their adult relationships. We’re supposed to be talking about parenting tips for dads, and here I am telling you that other relationships should be a priority? Yep, that’s right!
There are two reasons.
First, kids who become the center of their parents’ universe can sometimes end up entitled little brats (pardon my harsh language). Kids must learn that the world does not revolve around them, and one way to do this is to let them witness healthy adult relationships on a regular basis.
This is not to say you should neglect the relationship with your kids. They will monopolize your time, especially for the first few years. But you should definitely schedule the occasional date night, or join a weekly slow-pitch softball league with your best friend.
The second reason is that kids will emulate your behavior when it comes to their own relationships. If you bail on your friends every time you make plans, your kids are going to think this is totally acceptable. On the other hand, if you surprise your spouse or partner with flowers just because, your kids will probably do the same when they start developing relationships. In short: treat your partner and friends exactly how you want your kids to treat (or be treated by) their partner and friends.
Do you have any amazing parenting tips for dads? Share them with me in the comments below!