The Best Dad You Can Be
When your baby is born, it may seem like everything is mom's job, and you’re just watching 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.
- Keep being a good partner to the child's mother. Reassure your partner that you are there to help and that you will both learn to be great parents together.
- When mom gets up to tend to the baby at night, get up with her or suggest she keep sleeping while you tend to the baby. 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 bond with your partner and 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 in with 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. Whether you live with your partner and child or not, you have rights as a dad. Find out what those rights are from a reliable source, like the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Connecting with other dads in your community can also be a great support system and resource when things come up that you are not sure how to address.
- 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. Get comfortable giving hugs, reading books together and talking to them. Remember how children spell "love": T-I-M-E.
- Visit the Help and Hope website for more parenting advice and videos!
- 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.
- Download and print Eight Ways To Be a Better Dad, a tip sheet from our Parent Resource Library.
- Read the Texas Attorney General’s Handbook for Noncustodial Parents to learn more about your rights as a father.
- HealthyChildren.org, Involved Dads Help Kids Grow