6 Tips For Getting Dads More Involved

Tips to help dad feel and act less like a babysitter and more like a parent

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The role of modern day father has evolved from traditional breadwinner and disciplinarian. Many dads stay at home with their children and others play a vital role as an involved and present co-parent. However, there are many dads who have not stepped up in their role as parent, leaving moms to bear the brunt of the child care responsibilities and decisions.

There are many reasons why a dad may feel or act more like a babysitter than a parent.

Many men do want to be involved, but may not know how to take care of a baby or worry they will make a mistake.  

Here are tips for getting dads more involved:

1. Make Dad Part Of The Routine

Give dad a job as soon as the baby is born. Involve him in daily activities and show him how to do things as you learn them. Make dad the swaddler or ask him to take over bath duty. Make sure dad learns to change diapers and give bottles. Teaching dad newborn skills may cause more time and stress for mom in the beginning, but in the end, it will be worth it. Dad will get to spend quality time with his child and when you need a girls night or just to hide in your room, dad will feel comfortable and confident taking care of the baby. 

2. Give Dad Time To Figure It Out 

Dad may not be able to soothe a screaming baby as quickly as mom but give him some time to figure out his own special soothing techniques.

Parents have different ways of putting their child to sleep, soothing them or making them laugh. Dad may not be with the baby all day so he may need more time to figure out why the baby is crying and how to make it better. Give him this time. He might just discover a better way of doing things!

3. Stop Interfering and Instill Confidence

Once dad has figured out his duties and has his special way of doing things, let him enjoy it.

Telling him he is wrong is not going to make him want to take on more responsibilities. That means no nit-picking, hovering or criticizing. As hard as it may be, change your standards and stop telling him how he should do things. Show dad that you are confident in his abilities. Fake it if you have to. No child ever suffered long-term trauma because of a mismatching outfit or not having her hair brushed for school. 

4. Leave Dad Alone With The Baby

Leaving the baby alone with dad may be an extremely anxiety inducing event for mom, but it is a necessary step for dad and for your relationship. Go get a manicure, meet a friend for lunch or sit in a coffee shop. Take some time for yourself and allow dad to experience being alone with the baby. If the first time does not go well, try again. It will get better for everyone as time goes on.

5. It Is Never Too Late To Ask For Help

If you did not make dad part of the routine when your baby was young and are now feeling like a single parent of a toddler, ask for help!

Maybe dad thinks you do not want his help or that you do not trust his abilities. Have an open, honest conversation about your expectations and what you need from him. Make sure dad knows that asking for help does not mean that he is helping with "your" job and doing you a favor. He is a co-parent, not a babysitter!

6. Remember, You Are On The Same Team

Parenting is a learning experience. Each phase of childhood is new to both mom and dad so embrace it together by discussing your opinions and sharing ideas. Make sure dad knows that you value his opinion and want him involved in parenting decisions. Include him in big decisions, such as choosing a child care provider, as well as smaller decisions, like what to feed your baby as the first food. You both want the best for your child. It is important to remember you are on the same team.

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