One primary objective of this website is to offer more resources for active, engaged, and committed fathers. I had the opportunity to meet with Charles Ehrhardt, LCSW earlier today to learn more about his unique initiative: an interactive workshop for new and expectant fathers offered at Roosevelt Hospital. Here is a caring and intelligent dad that has been offering fathers-only workshops at local area hospitals and support centers for the past twelve years. Ehrhardt, an experienced father himself (has a 15-year old daughter), understands the importance of dads learning many of the basics as well as providing “explicit information pertaining to the necessary skills needed for the health and welfare of the newborn, as well as the intellectual, emotional, and psychological role fathers play throughout the life cycle of their children”
I was excited to learn about a licensed educator who aims to partner with local hospitals to offer a new parenting session for dads – I only wish our hospital offered a useful workshop during the days leading up to the birth of our child. I didn’t read the books, but I would have attend a workshop. Ehrhardt hosts a monthly three-hour workshop for 6 – 12 dads every month including practical tips, hand-outs, and an informative discussion. Not surprisingly, most of the dad participants were there because of a ‘gentle’ nudge from their wives. Currently, Roosevelt Hospital on the UWS of New york City is the only participating hospital that hosts this type of workshop. It certainly makes me wonder why more hospitals and parenting venues have not hopped on this necessary dad-wagon.
You may also wonder what takes place in these discussions?
- Mothers “wish list” of what they would most appreciate from fathers toward the end of pregnancy.
- The Nursery – what they should have when coming home with the baby, plus important safety tips.
- Fifteen activities to do with the baby right from the start.
- Scheduling life after the baby arrives – The benefits of paternity leave, work schedule flexibility, and tactics for scheduling.
- Pros and cons of the three major types of child care – in-home, family day care, and day care centers.
- Normal early infant behavior – ex. baby needs to be fed every 2-4 hours, falls asleep suddenly, sleeps soundly, etc.
- Sleep – Four elements of healthy sleep, pros and cons of family bed, etc.
- Crying babies – Why they cry, different kinds of communication, ways to soothe a colicky baby.
- Baby safety (birth to 4 months) including safety precautions in areas of bottle-feeding, changing diapers, bathing; SIDS prevention; daily scenarios which pose greatest risk of safety oversights.
- Financial concerns. Ways to ease financial anxiety. *Ehrhardt shared that “financial concerns” was the single biggest worry of the new and expectant fathers that he meets with.
Also, discussed in these workshops:
- How father’s role models will influence their own fathering.
- How fatherhood changes the man.
- What, exactly, do fathers “provide”?
- Most anxiety arousing issues for the new father.
- Effects of parenthood on marriage.
As you can gather – most new and expectant fathers should be attending a workshop of this caliber. Being a new parent was definitely the most challenging experience of my life. It would have been nice to have a few extra support pieces in place at the beginning. For more information about these interactive workshops, check out their DAD DAY informative website or attend an Upcoming Class: First Time Dads, 10am-1pm @ Roosevelt Hospital, 11th Floor * Saturday, July 30, 2011 *