Dad University – Top 8 New Dad Tips – Crucial Advice for First-Time Fathers
Becoming a first-time father is a roller coaster of emotions. As with stepping into any life-changing new role, you might feel excited, anxious, overwhelmed, and even lost. These are all normal reactions as you begin to deal with the unfamiliarity of the present and the seeming uncertainty of the future.
But, as you learn more about how to be a dad and spend more time with your baby, you’ll be able to cope faster, feel more in control, and become more confident in handling any baby-related situation that comes your way.
For any new dads needing dad advice, we’ve rounded up eight new father tips that can help you on this journey:
Tip #1: Don’t Take Things Personally
One of the first things you need to remember when handling a baby is to not take things personally. Your baby is guaranteed to cry, whine, and fuss even about the smallest things, but it doesn’t mean they’re doing it on purpose to make you miserable. Keep in mind that you and your baby are just beginning to get to know each other, and this takes a lot of time. Moreover, your baby is just getting to know the world around them, so they’re going to react to the stimuli they experience, more often than not by crying or wiggling around.
If you feel that you can’t calm your baby down or that your baby is constantly complaining, don’t fret. All you need to do is help them become more familiar with the activities that you share such as bathing them or putting them to sleep. Raising a child necessitates a lot of repetition because you’re building a routine. The more you do things, the more the baby will become familiar and comfortable with you and their surroundings.
Tip #2: Focus on Quality Time Instead of Quantity of Time
Depending on your family situation, you may either be the primary breadwinner or the primary caretaker of the baby. With the former, you might feel guilty about not spending enough time with your child because of work obligations. If your role is the latter, you might be spending a lot of time with them, but you find yourself multitasking or constantly distracted by other responsibilities as you try to work out chores and childcare.
If you’re unsure of what quality time means, it’s all about being in the present moment. It means giving your child undivided attention and affection. When you bathe or feed your baby, make sure you’re focused on them and are consciously attending to their needs.
Tip #3: Spend One-on-One Time With Your Baby
This third tip is tied in with the second one: quality time also means having one-on-one time with your baby.
It’s normal to feel a little anxious when you’re left alone with your child. This is because you still lack the experience and, therefore, the confidence when it comes to taking care of your baby. By spending quality one-on-one time with them, you’ll get the hang of how things work and realize that everything will turn out just fine.
Don’t forget to value this time with your baby as it’s something you won’t be able to get back when it passes. Not only does this allow you to be more present, but it also builds a connection between you and your child that will be carried over even into their adult years.
Tip #4: Be Okay With Your Mistakes
Mistakes will always be part of the learning process, and that applies to fatherhood as well. Whether you’re a newly minted dad or a veteran at fatherhood, mistakes are bound to happen — but that doesn’t mean you’re a horrible father. What’s important is to learn from these mistakes as you move along.
Don’t beat yourself up about them. Always view them as lessons and keep moving forward.
Tip #5: Be Empathetic
Parenting in general can be fun but frustrating. Some days are better than others, but one thing you should always remember is to exercise empathy.
Among the new dad tips out there, this one has the most impact on both you and those around you. By putting yourself in another person’s shoes and just listening to what they have to say, you can have a better understanding of their point of view. Ninety-nine percent of the time, this is all that’s needed to have harmony within your family.
For instance, if your wife is telling you about how she struggled with putting the baby to sleep, don’t tell her how you would have done it yourself. You don’t even have to agree with or accept the situation. Empathy simply means lending a listening ear and understanding where the other person is coming from.
Tip #6: Get Organized
Before you had a baby, getting organized might not have meant much to you. But, whether you like it or not, fatherhood requires a measure of organization because this is how you create a workable routine between you and your baby.
Getting organized focuses on two crucial elements, namely:
- Creating a schedule
- Dividing tasks
By creating a schedule, you avoid unwelcome surprises and make routines predictable and easier to follow.
Writing down the division of tasks, on the other hand, sets the expectations of everyone involved, and fosters accountability between the people responsible for a certain activity like bathing, feeding, or putting the baby to sleep. When you know what you have to do, you can plan your day better and avoid not only confusion but also frustration.
Tip #7: Enjoy the Present
Thinking about what the future holds is something that parents, in general, can’t help but do. As a dad, you might be imagining how fun it will be when your baby knows how to walk or talk since you can share more activities together, such as playing in the park or going to the mall.
As exciting as it is to envision what the future might be like, be careful not to let this overshadow the present moment. Instead, enjoy the current stage your child is in. Each day spent with your baby is unique in that it will never happen exactly the same way again.
Tip #8: Be Confident in Yourself
Last but not least, you need to be confident that you can take care of your baby, that you can do this whole fatherhood thing. Of course, it’s normal to sometimes feel like you’re way in over your head. But, that actually signals that you care — you care enough to want to do the right thing and raise your child in the best way you can.
You need to be confident and stop feeling sorry for yourself whenever things don’t seem to go your way. Gaining confidence won’t happen overnight — you build it over time, just as you build a connection with your baby each day. Trust your instincts and trust that you’ll do the right thing, especially when your baby needs you the most.
Keep Moving Forward
Fatherhood is a one-of-a-kind journey that has its highs and lows. What’s important to remember is to keep moving forward and not to focus on setbacks along the way. With our eight new dad tips, you can make life for you and your baby a little easier and a lot more fun.
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