Welcome to the world of being a stay-at-home dad. Whatever your reason, you've made an awesome choice. The rewards of spending the time with your kids are endless. Watching them develop, being a safe space when they're hurt or hearing them laugh are only some of the highs.
The first 1000 days of a child's life are the most important. Now that you've committed, here is some helpful advice from men who have been there before.
1. Kids experience love through the time you spend with them.
It’s not about wearing the best clothes, having the most toys or going to the coolest parks. Your tamariki just want to spend time with you. Be apart of their world. Get on the floor to do the puzzle, build with the blocks, cut the pretend tomatoes or dance to their favourite show. You can also get them involved with your world. Love art? Pull out the paint. Bit of a muso? Have a jam on the guitar.
It’s not about teaching them to play the instrument or draw the picture – it’s about the time you spend with them. Make it fun and roll with joy over perfection.
2. If your kids are little, you’ll be tired often. Late nights, early mornings and broken sleep will start to creep up on you. Rest when your little one sleeps or use that time to do the things that fill your cup. It won’t replace your lack of sleep but it will re-energise you for when they wake.
3. It’s helpful to build activities into your week that get you out and about to avoid cabin fever. Try putting your little one in the pram and going for a run or walking to a cafe to meet a mate for lunch. The advantage of walking is you’ll likely arrive with a sleeping bub and space to have adult talk. Checkout your local play centre, library and community centre for activities. This can be a great way to meet other parents and socialise bub with new friends and experiences.
4. Every child needs an emotional connection with at least one adult. There’s something special about being that go to person and their dad. To know it was you that did the day-to-day nurturing. Remember to acknowledge that especially on the days that are tough. The bond you build with your child is a gift for both of you.