Recently, I was thinking about what type of advice or tips for stay-at-home dads would provide to other SAHDs to remain confident and be successful in their role. Then, over the past rainy weekend, I discovered a good website from the United Kingdom with just those kinds of tips for stay-at-home dads!
Paul Smith has been a stay-at-home dad over there for more than five years so he has a pretty good grasp about how to be successful. He already developed a more comprehensive list than I was thinking about, so instead of recreating the wheel, I would like to share Smith’s list below. To check out his list of “top tips for stay-at-home dads” and much more, visit Stay at Home Dads.co.uk.
Top Tips For Stay-At-Home Dads
Being a SAHD is hard work and is not like any other normal job. So it is good for all stay at home dads to get whatever help and advice they can from those that have experience in doing it. What follows is my advice and top tips for surviving and thriving as a modern stay at home dad.
1.) Consistency. Children need routine and consistency. You have to be consistent in the way you behave, the way you discipline and the way you do things day-to-day. If children don’t know what is happening or what to expect they will get very confused and upset. This will lead to bad behavior, irritable tempers and very frustrated children.
By having a regular routine and definite rules your children will understand what is going on and will know what is expected of them. Of course the routine is not set in stone and doesn’t need to be exact to the minute, but you do need a general schedule for each day and to keep certain things like meal times, bath times and bedtimes at roughly the same time every day.
2.) Get Out. Being stuck in the house with children all day every day is enough to make you go stir-crazy, so try to get out of the house as much as you can. Kids love getting outside and there are loads of places you can take them to such as parks, play centers, shops, libraries, museums, swimming pools, toddler groups, children’s gyms, farms and zoos.
The benefits of getting out are great, it means some exercise for you and the children, lots of stimulation, learning new things, having new experiences and meeting and interacting with people. Also children will learn how to behave in the outside world and will watch how others behave. The other big advantage of going out is that there is a lot less mess in the house to clear up when you get back.
3.) Socialize. As well as getting out of the house it is also important to meet and socialize with other people as well. Children like to play with other kids and they also learn a lot about how to behave within a group, how to share, how to make friends and how to look after themselves.
It is also good for you to get some adult company and to talk to people who are having the same experiences and problems. Although it can be quite daunting to go into a predominantly female environment, such as a parents and tots group, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Attitudes are changing and many groups are very welcoming to dads. If you just be yourself and show that you are dedicated and can take care of your children then you will probably soon find yourself accepted by the majority of the moms. At the end of the day you are all just parents who are trying to do the right thing and raise your children to the best of your abilities.
4.) Get A Hobby. Okay it doesn’t have to be a hobby but it is very important for you to have your own interests that don’t relate to your children.
This means that you can still retain some sense of identity, rather than just being ‘dad’ all the time, and it gives you something else to focus on. A common problem of being with young children all the time is the lack of adult stimulation and challenges, which can result in ‘mushy brain syndrome’.
By having your own interests you will keep your mind active, retain your identity, and it also means that you will have something else to talk about with friends other than your children. Furthermore it is good for your children to see that you have your own life and interests and that you are not just their daddy but a person in your own rights too.
5.) Enjoy Your Time. Being a stay at home dad is tough, tiring, demanding work. It is also very rewarding and fulfilling but often those feelings can be overwhelmed by the long days and nights of constant caring and seeing to your children’s needs. So it is important to try and have some fun and appreciate the time that you spend with your kids. They grow up very fast and you don’t want to regret not making the most of the time you had with them.
Things are changing and more and more of us men are taking on the role of full-time dad so it is vital that advice and information is available for us. I hope that you found this advice useful and that all you other stay at home dads out there are enjoying being with your children.