10 Tips On How You Can Be A Better Father (or Father Figure)

By: Shawn | Last Updated: June 19, 2017

Whether you’re a dad to your children, or a father figure to your nieces, nephews, or neighbor, there are always things we can do to improve and be better.

We understand that life happens and situations aren’t always fairytale perfect but no matter what, dads play an important role in our children’s lives.

The more you are there for them, the more they can count on you.

This helps your child to develop strong relationships later in life and in turn, you get to reap the benefits of a child’s love.  There’s nothing better than your child running into your arms after you get home from a long day at work.

Follow our tips below to get some new ideas on how you can become the best dad for your child!

be present

1. Be Present In Your Child’s Life

When you are communicating with a child, they think that time spent with them is directly related to the amount of love you have for them.

When you are off work and at home, give your children your undivided attention.  It can be hard to spend time with your child when you get home from a long day at the office, but in a few hours you can relax and wind down after their bedtime.

If you come home from work and don’t give them the attention they need, your child will disappointed.

Just because you work all day doesn’t mean you have to miss the majority of their growing up.  Give your best effort to attend their events and help them with homework and projects.

You don’t want your child to grow up and remember you always working, give them something great to remember their childhood by.

Be at every event whether it’s a dance performance or a baseball game.  When they come home with a new school project, help them with it and use it as an opportunity to spend time together and bond.

1 on 1 time with kid

2. Set Aside A Few Hours Every Week For 1:1 Time

Family time is awesome but sometimes a child just needs a little one-on-one time.

Whether you have a son or a daughter, set aside a few hours to let them be the center of your attention.

Go out for ice cream, take a morning hike, play a board game, or just go and play on the playground with them.

Children don’t need extravagant dad dates, just give them your time and attention.  When you are one on one with each other, it gives them the opportunity to bond closer with you instead of battling for your attention with other siblings.

And as much as we love the mom’s of our children, sometimes a kid just needs their dad too.

dont do everything for them

3. Don’t Do Everything For Them

We’re not trying to contradict ourselves here, spend time with your children and help them, but let them learn for themselves!

Don’t make their bed every morning, show them how to do it once and then let them figure it out the other days.

The same goes for life lessons.

For example, if your child is mad that they lost at their game, don’t say something like “well it’s because the other team cheated.”

This will make your child think that they did nothing wrong.

Let them learn from their own failures and say something instead like, “it’s okay, if you try harder next week you might just win, too.”  This helps them recognize that it’s okay to fail and when you make a mistake, try again.

The last thing we all want is to raise a needy and entitled child.

By letting them figure out some things on their own, they’ll be better rounded in the long run.

put down your phone

4. Put Down Your Phone

This is by far the biggest thing that we dads struggle with.

As soon as our phone beeps with a new notification, we’re on it.  Whether it be an article, a work email, an update on social media, or your boss calling you on Saturday, it can wait!

We promise that if you put down your phone for a few hours, it will not be the end of the world.

When we allow ourselves to go off the grid and be technology free, we are better able to bond with the people around us.

If you think you just can’t stay away from your phone, leave it in the car so your child has your whole attention.

5. Drinks Shouldn’t Be A Fixture

Cheers to Fridays, am I right?

Sometimes, the week goes by so slow and when the weekend is finally here, bottoms up!

Drinks are always a great addition to your weekend activities and meals but with kids, keep the drinking to a minimum.  Drinks can be fun and relaxing, especially after a long workweek but it drains your energy and won’t make you the most aware for you children.

With swim meets, soccer, and football games on Saturday mornings, swap out your drink for something healthier.

You want to be able to be aware and feel good throughout the weekend while you watch your child’s sports games and activities.

When you nix drinking, you’ll have much more energy to keep up with your energetic children and it sets a great example.

Kids are always watching.

When you think they aren’t, they are.  If they see you drinking every day Friday through Sunday, they’ll see you prioritize your alcohol before them and they’ll end up drinking more when they get older as well.

laughing with kid

6. Be Goofy, Lighthearted

Don’t be afraid to crack a joke every once in awhile.

There’s post upon post on the internet about the dreaded “dad jokes.”

But, the reason there’s always so many posts about them is because no matter how bad the joke, kids still love their dads.

Jerry Seinfeld says that us fathers get a free pass when it comes to some bad jokes.  More specifically, “Somehow the more annoying I am or the more disturbing I am to my child, they’re still my child and I’m still their dad.”

The child and father relationship is resilient and will survive every bad joke you throw at them.

Learn to be goofy and lighthearted.

They may not laugh at your every joke, but they will appreciate the effort.  Jerry Seinfeld talks more about being a father in this great interview.

go on a hike

7. Build Adventures Together

You don’t need to wait for a family reunion to travel, build adventures with your child no matter the circumstances.

If you’re happily married with multiple children, take them all to a fun destination like Disney.

Single dad?

Go swimming with your child and enjoy the lake.  You can travel with just the two or three or four of you, no problem.

If you have money, fly to a beach and enjoy all the water activities you can!

If you’re trying to be frugal, go camping with each other and enjoy the outdoors.  If you don’t have camping spots near you, set up a tent in your backyard.

The kids won’t mind where you end up, it’s all about the process and bonding that the adventure gives.

story time with kids

8. Read A New Book At Least Once A Week

A great way to bond with your child is to read books together.

Library cards are free so you have no excuse!

Take your child and pick out some books you’d like to read with each other.  Make time every night to read a short story, or a chapter of a book if your child is older.  You can bond over your favorite genre and you can talk about the characters and twists and turns of the book.

There are millions of books you can choose from so you never have to run out!

Your child will become a book lover, which in turn will also help them academically.  It’s truly a win-win situation!

couple

9. Marriages Have Their Ups/Downs

No one has a perfect marriage or relationship.

Every couple is going to have ups and downs.  You are two separate people and you’re bound to disagree on some topics here and there.

Fighting and arguing is completely natural, but ditch the discussion until after dark.

Once the kids are asleep, you can work things out with your partner and discuss your concerns.  Even when they are sleeping, be respectful.

Don’t yell or name call your significant other.

Be mature and act like an adult.

Always treat your child’s mother with respect because if you don’t, the kids will definitely pick up on your behavior.

editing a vlog

10. Pair Hobbies With Your Kid

The best thing about our children is they find joy in the simple things.  If you share your hobbies, they can learn to love them too.

If you like coding, there’s tons of online sources for kids to get into coding as well.  Help teach them simple HTML or app coding and watch them be amazed at what you create together.

If you enjoy video editing, take photos and videos of you guys when you’re vacationing or at their event.

Once you gather up some film, edit the clips into an awesome slideshow or movie.

You could even create your own Family Vlog and post all the fun things you like to do together!

No matter what your hobby is, if you help your child learn it you’ll get more bonding time together.

To a child, time is love.

The more things you find that you can do together, the stronger your relationship with your child will be.

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