3 Parenting Skills and Tips for New Dads
What skills do you highlight in your resume? Chances are you don’t put diaper changing or braiding my child’s hair. Although they may not come as valuable skills for most corporate settings, they are none the less essential if you are a dad.
If you don’t have a child you may not comprehend the difficulties that fathers like me face. Sure, raising a child may seem simple. Regularly feed them, occasionally bathe them, teach them how to use the remote control and you’re all set. Oh, how I wish this was true. However, there are special skills needed. Being a father sets you up for an entirely new ballgame.
Parenting Skill 1: Dealing With Poop
What it seems
Poop. Lots and lots of poop! At times I wonder how such a small human can produce so much crap. Just imagine having a wonderful time at the mall then suddenly your child’s face contorts in an indistinguishable manner. There you have it, poop in the middle of the mall atrium. It’s like a finely tuned smart bomb – you’ll never know when it will hit you. When you see it coming, it’s usually too late.
Is there a gene for automatic potty training? Well, it’s just hopeful thinking. But I implore all scientists to seriously look for this gene.
Nuisance, embarrassment and panic are some common reactions when faced with excrement. You can pretend nothing happened and go on your merry way. Believe me, the thought crossed my mind. But the longer you postpone the right action, the harder it will be – literally and figuratively. Just remember that excretion is a natural body process. Even you pooped excessively and indiscriminately. Back in the earlier days, they did not have disposable diapers. This is a double-edged sword but many embrace the ease it brings.
For the record, never scold your child for pooping – even if it’s in the middle of a fancy dinner. Instead, encourage your child to tell you when the tingly feeling is there. They are still trying to learn to control their body’s functions, so allow them space to learn it. My wife and I already know when our daughter is dropping the bomb. The tell tale signs are there, parents must learn them.
Daddy Quick tips:
- Be familiar with your child’s schedule
After some time, you’ll see a pattern and you will learn to work with it. As difficult as it may sound, there are times when you need to adjust your schedule based on the child’s poop cycle.
- Be prepared
I’m no boy scout but being prepared is a necessity when you are a dad. Apart from the diaper changing bag I bring along, I have an extra set in the car. Baby wipes are also indispensable.
- Watch what your child eats
Another important factor of poop schedule and poop texture is the food your baby eats. Some may induce early spurts of poop. Other may bring harder ones. And yes, the color may vary. Sometimes, the right milk formula is needed. Ask your pediatrician about this. Remember that what goes in, must come out sooner or later.
- Learn to change diapers
Of course, poop does not just go away – oh if only! Unfortunately, you need to act on it ASAP. Changing diapers is easy if you know what to do. Don’t leave it up to the mom to do this task. Even dads need to learn how to change diapers minus the disaster.
- Be supportive and not judgmental
As your baby moves into toddlerhood, he/she needs all emotional support. They are still learning to control their bodies so your support is necessary. This includes not forcing them to sit on the potty when they are not ready.
- Be ready for other bodily excretions
Apart from the dreaded poop, be ready to take on other bodily excrements.
Parenting Skill 2: Cleaning Bottles
What it seems
Sterilizing bottles can get tiring. It’s just another step in the process. It’s too complicated. Sterilizing is just a waste of energy. If you wake up in the middle of the night and realize that you no longer have clean bottles, it’s not hard to think of sterilizing this way. But in spite of all these pseudo arguments, you do it anyway.
OK, whining aside, sterilizing bottles and even other stuff is necessary. Sanitizing what your child uses is paramount to his/her health. Be thankful that there are numerous products and equipment for sterilizing.
Simply put, keeping items clean helps prevent diseases. Unlike you or me, we have built our immune system – or at least our tolerance for dirty surroundings. Young children on the other hand are susceptible to many diseases.
Daddy Quick tips
- Quality not speed
Don’t rush things! Be meticulous and careful. Every nook and cranny of the bottles must be impeccably clean. Otherwise, you run the risk of harboring dangerous microbes. Just imagine a thriving community of viruses and bacteria on your child’s baby bottle. Now, imagine your baby getting sick. It’s not a pretty sight I know.
- Follow the right procedure
Dads need to learn how to clean baby bottles properly. This is not like popping it in the dishwasher then drinking a bottle of beer while waiting. There is the right way and the wrong way. Suffice to say; how you clean baby bottles will affect your child’s health.
- When in doubt, clean
Sometimes in the confusion of packing things, arranging items or just plain forgetting, we never assume that a bottle is clean. So when in doubt, sterilize the bottle again.
- Set a schedule
The life that you know changed the moment your baby comes out. This includes all the schedule that you follow. Even the Monday night football with your friends over pizza and beer may have to take a backseat to sterilizing bottles. So, to make the transition easier, have a schedule of doing the baby stuff. But here’s a warning, your baby owns your schedule.
- Having extra bottles help
Sure, it gets tiring to sterilize bottles again and again. So, it’s a good idea to have some extra bottles on hand. But of course, you need to sterilize them sooner or later.
- Be ready for other bodily excretions
Apart from the dreaded poop, be ready to take on other bodily excrement.
A baby needs good sleepClick thumbnail to view full-size
Parenting Skill 3: Singing Songs
What it seems
Hell no, I won’t sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with all the exaggerated facial expression and cutsie voice. So what if your tone deaf? So what if you don’t know the lyrics? It’s just you and the baby – and perhaps a camcorder hidden behind the bookshelf that will take videos for Youtube.
Singing is not for everyone and some really can’t carry a tune – that includes me. Worse, some may don’t even know the lyrics to the most common children’s songs. You may even argue that some children’s songs are silly, stupid, and irrational. But sooner or later you will sing no matter how horrid it may sound. Chances are, your baby won’t mind the dreadful sound.
It may come as a surprise but many men actually sing. Others sing in the privacy of their shower room. Some sing to their heart’s content while under the influence of alcohol. Any fond memories flooding back? Probably you’re too drunk to remember. Still others sing for the fun of it. You don’t need to be an avid fan of GLEE or Sound of Music to sing. All it takes is the desire to keep your child comfortable and relax.
Your child is no Simon Cowell that will throw sarcasm and kill your dream of being the next Pavarotti or Justin Bieber.
My daughter loves a variety of songs from nursery rhymes and children’s songs to The Beatles’ “I will” and “Here Comes The Sun”. Regardless of what songs you sing, let your child be soothe by your voice – no matter how tone deaf you may be. Connect with your child through songs. (I planned to put a video with me singing to my daughter but I’m afraid I’d get censored for cruelty to humankind.)
Enjoy being a dad!
Here are some other information that may help you.
Hone your skills in changing diapers. it's easy if you know what to do.
The first 12 months is life-changing. Get ready for for it.
It all starts when you wife gets pregnant. Keep your sanity and help your wife during this time.
Who can say they are ready to become a dad? First time dads have a lot to think about.
Daddy quick tips:
- Hum if you don’t know the lyrics
If you don’t know the lyrics it’s ok to hum the melody. You may even opt to make your own lyrics. That would be equally amusing.
- Learn the songs for your child’s sake
If you’re reading this over the internet, then you have the resource needed to learn the children’s songs. You’ll realize that there are hundreds of them. In fact, there are some variations to different songs for children. Choose one that you like and just go for it and sing it with your child.
- Learn songs from children’s shows
I grew up watching Sesame Street. So what is your child watching? My daughter loves Hi 5, Dora the Explorer, Little Einstein and of course Barney. I sing the songs complete with the actions. Singing songs with your child is a great bonding time.
- Know songs for different activities
There are songs for almost anything. My daughter has her bedtime songs, waking up songs, packing up toys song and other songs for different activities. These songs help motivate them and complete different tasks. It makes it fun and more interesting.
- Encourage your child to sing with you
Singing songs help develop your child’s mental, emotional and physical attributes. So encourage them to sing and express themselves.
- Don’t be shy to sing
If you’re going to sing to your child, sing your heart out. Don’t be shy and just let it out. Be an example to your child and let them explore the fun of singing.
There are hundreds of other skills that dads need to learn to become better at this responsibility. These are just three that I had difficulty adjusting to at first. After some time, I learned and I honed these skills. There are times when I still panic when my daughter poops during odd circumstances but it’s not as devastating as it used to be. Moreover, sterilizing bottles is still a chore for me but I do it with more care than ever. And finally, I’m still off key when I sing. But I sing with more passion now knowing that I’m singing to my daughter.
Fathering a child can be easy. But taking responsibility is another matter.
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