Dad Tip #40 – Work as a team. Share a family calendar with your partner.

During the first year of fatherhood, set up a plan on how you and your partner deal with last-minute can’t miss events that crop up in life or at work. For example, what plan do you have in place if an important client comes into town, and insists on taking the team out to happy hour? Let your partner know as soon as possible, that you might be home late and that they may have to make alternate dinner arrangements. Remember that this can also be for your benefit as you may have to stay at home with the baby while your partner also has a work conflict. It’s always better to add these events proactively, or view the calendar to see what is truly a “can’t-miss” when compared with your family responsibilities. Fights and arguments often arise from conflicting work schedules, but the key to working as a team is to communicate plans so that all parties can adjust accordingly. For those reading, please share your communication strategies and let us know how you plan for last minute change.

Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

Dad Tip #37 – Ask yourself what happens after you say the word “No”.

Do you say the word “no” and then pick up your child, give them their favorite toy to distract them? Do you say “no” and then move them to their play area? You might not realize that you are unintentionally giving them rewards and attention for their problem behavior. When they are exhibiting bad habits, try picking them up and taking them to an area with no toys using slow, deliberate steps (so it doesn’t seem like a “fun” game,) or try saying “no” and then sitting with them for a few seconds in silence.

Think about this…

If your child grabs an object, such as your phone and screams when you take it away and your next step is to immediately give it back… what is that telling the child? That is telling them that SCREAM-ING will ensure they get what they want. Praise them for exhibiting positive behavior with words like “You let daddy change you so fast!” Or “You turned the page on the book!” Make sure to smile so the baby can recognize your body language.

New Dad Tip #35 Turn off the colors on your phone

Babies are instantly attracted to the brightly colored, noise making devices that we always seem to be reaching for. When the baby gets a hold of your phone, they can be locked in and often fuss if you take it away. However, if you go to accessibility settings for color filters on an iPhone, you can make the phone a grayscale color that is far less appealing to baby. Accessibility shortcut also allows you to toggle colors on and off by tapping on the home screen three times. If you use android, go to Developer options and select “Simulate color space” to enable “Monochromacy”. Grayscale also saves battery life and when you’re not around baby, feel free to switch it back to normal

Dad Tip #22 Make sure all stuffed animals are not male

Picture of a stuffed animal bear
Is this Mr. or Ms. Bear? Does it matter?

My wife noticed that I had a habit of calling my daughter’s stuffed animals names like Mr. Bear, Mr. Bunny or Mr. Lamb, even though these animals weren’t specifically male. It was almost like I was expecting an animal to have have a particular color or “look” before I considered it to be female. Try to be aware of how you refer to your child’s toys so they can be accustomed to having friends from all walks of life.

July Parenting News Recap:

Article: Dads now spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations

https://www.mother.ly/news/millennial-dads-spend-more-time-with-their-kids

For some people, bashing millennial’s has become a running joke. It’s really popular to call us lazy and unmotivated and to say that we’re afraid of hard work. To those, I point out this article and say that so many of the people in this generation are committed, dedicated and caring. “Back in 1982, a whopping 43% of fathers admitted they’d never changed a diaper. Today, that number is down to about 3%”

The title of this article speaks for itself. This new generation of dads may not be perfect, but in many ways, we rock.

Baby Food Has Too Much Sugar And Is Marketed Wrongly, WHO Says

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-15/baby-food-has-too-much-sugar-and-is-marketed-wrongly-who-says

My wife and I often make our own baby food using fresh fruits and vegetables in a baby cook, but we still rely on purchasing baby food from the grocery store. It’s critical that parents have truth in advertising and it’s sad to see that according to a new World Health Organization report, “Baby food often contains too much sugar and is incorrectly advertised as suitable for infants under 6 months of age.” Baby food has been one of the most important things that I’ve worked to research and it’s vital that parents have a healthy option that is not overly reliant on sugar. It can be a challenge to know what to feed a child after the six month mark, but if the community of parents put pressure on the major food companies, they will work to provide better labeling in baby food.

Father tries to grasp how he could have left twins to die in hot car

The reality is that no matter how tired, exhausted, or if you’re running late, always check the back seat. This is one of the most tragic things I could ever imagine, but it’s important that we don’t simply say “that would never happen” and instead, put some onus on ourselves to save these children.

What you can do: Write or contact your congressman and ask them to support The Hot Cars Act of 2019. According to this article, this act, “would mandate the installation of technology that at a minimum would remind drivers to check the back seat.”

We have had four straight years of summers with record heat and the data shows that July is the worst month for child hot car deaths. This data shows that the problem is getting worse with rear facing car seats and as “Stress and sleep deprivation can make these memory lapses more common,”. Parents are feeling stressed in raising their children and these mistakes are happening far too often. “Since 1998, about 440 children nationwide have died of heatstroke after being forgotten in cars, generally not because of a lack of love… but because of how human memory functions.”

We must address this issue because there are 440 kids who should be smiling, learning to walk, playing catch with their parents, learning algebra, volunteering their time, writing a college essay graduating from college or entering the workforce. One child is too many, but 440 is something that MUST allow us to have a broader conversation. The memories of these kids can save lives in the future. We must act now to prevent the next hot car death.

New Dad Tip #15 Expect the Unexpected

Man looking off into the distance
Parenting can be a search for answers.

Oh they didn’t tell you that your newborn daughter would have a bloody diaper during the first week of her life when she has a mini period? Don’t freak out. All parents have questions and experience new unforeseen challenges. If you experience something new, reach out to family and friends with kids who can answer your questions.

And remember: Dude it’s cool.

New Dad’s, expect the unexpected.

Tip #9 Keep your wife hydrated:

Make sure to hydrate!

New moms are often stuck in place while nursing and rarely have a free hand to hold a glass. If your baby has had a restless night, your wife might have gone hours without replenishing her own fluids. Hand her a glass of water and remind her that it’s essential to her health to keep hydrated.

A buddy of mine said that his wife literally reacted more enthusiastically when he brought her a cup of water while breastfeeding, than when he gave her a pair of earrings while they were dating. While you’re at it, drink some water yourself.