Be A Better Dad To Your Baby
When your baby is born, it may seem like everything is mommy's job, and dad just watches from the sidelines. Not true! A father's role is just as important as the mother's.
Don't know where to start? Try these tips for when your child is 0-2 years old.
- Keep being a good husband or partner to the child's mother. A man who can anticipate what needs to be done, be respectful and caring, and be helpful without being asked is already a good father. Moms aren't born knowing what to do; they learn by doing. Dads are the same way, so stand with her and say, "We can handle this."
- When mommy gets up to tend to the baby in the night, you get up too. You can change diapers, burp the baby after feeding, or just keep the two of them company. These late-night moments are often great opportunities to talk to each other or cuddle with your baby.
- Talk to your baby. Let him or her learn the sound of your voice. You can tell the baby about your day, talk about yourself, sing a song, or just say, "I love you." Your child might learn their first words from you!
- Be a good role model. Even very young children watch the behavior of adults in their lives, and will try to copy them. Check yourself: are you treating others with respect? Are you being healthy and safe? Dads are heroes to kids; make sure you're acting like one.
- Educate yourself. Learn about your rights as a father, find out what expert advice is out there for you, and connect with other good dads in your community.
- Spend time with the kids. Children whose fathers are involved in their day-to-day lives often have higher self-esteem, are less likely to get involved in substance abuse or criminal activity, and do better in school than kids whose dads are never around. Get comfortable giving hugs, reading books together and talking to them. Remember how children spell "love": T-I-M-E.
- Visit the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, where you can take the Fatherhood Pledge, find resources, and search information about fatherhood support programs in your community. Also available in Spanish. [go now]
- Download and print Eight Ways To Be a Better Dad, a tip sheet from our Parent Resource Library.