Whether you’ve been a parent for just a few weeks or a few years, it’s easy to lose track of everything going on. Work and other outside pressures all take away your attention… and children change so fast so quickly! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel as though keeping strongly connected with your family while working fulltime and taking care of other issues is an impossible task. But bonding and receiving emotional support from you is important to both your partner and your children.
You’re more competent than you realise
A lot of new dads feel overwhelmed from the start because there seems to be so much to learn, and often their partners seem far more competent, as though instinct was all they needed. That’s not the case! Women often learn about caring for babies through family and friends, or they learn through sheer pressure of having to figure things out fast. You can do that too. You’ll make mistakes, but everyone does.
Pick one thing to practice at a time
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to caring for children. If your child is newborn, you can learn the same way that your partner will – by jumping in the deep end! But if your partner has already done most of the work of caring, then you’re probably better off learning one task at a time. For example, you could take over bath time in the evenings, then progress to cooking dinner for the family when you have that figured out.
Use learning resources
When it comes to looking after children, you don’t have to pick up absolutely everything through experience. You can get a lot of knowledge about basic child psychology, parenting methods, and how to connect with and teach your children from books, videos, classes, and other parents.
Touch and talk
Babies are very sense-oriented creatures. They learn about themselves, the people around them, and their environment through their senses. But touch is the most important sense – babies who are cuddled and patted frequently tend to develop better socially and emotionally. Hearing you talk and communicate is also very important, as it helps the baby to bond and to learn the fundamentals of language.
Reading books to your children isn’t just entertainment for them; it can also provide valuable learning experiences and bonding opportunities if your children want to talk about what you just read. Even if they’re too young to really understand what the words mean, the act of cuddling up to Dad to hear a story can be a deeply reassuring time.
Care for your partner
Having children can put a strain on parents and their relationship. Make sure that you both have time to yourselves that can be used for true leisure and self-care. Show love to your partner regularly. Not only will it help her feel more emotionally connected, you’ll be modelling good relationships for your children.
Build for the future
It might seem easier at times to back off and let your partner handle the family side of life, but you’ll find that putting in the effort early on will help to build deep, caring relationships with your whole family, and these bonds will last a lifetime.