Fatherhood Programs: 5 Things New Dads Need to Know About Their Baby
Can’t have fatherhood programs without having fatherhood. So you have gone from Dude to Dad with the arrival of your new baby? Here’s a mini parenting class in five ideas, both practical and philosophical.
1. Babies are learning machines.
Although your baby may look like a cheese-covered banshee when fresh out of the womb, that wriggly body is surrounding a knowledge-absorbing brain that acts like an information sponge from the very beginning. Your child is born to learn and life is ready to teach. Forget what you have heard about “making learning fun.” Your child instinctually seeks out knowledge. Speak to her in real words. Ask her questions about things even before she can respond with words of her own. Take her with you to the many places you go and point out new sites, sounds and people. You do not always need expensive infant toys or educational programs. You are the best teacher for your baby.
2. Your child needs your unique personality.
Men and women parent differently. For both moms and dads, our job is to assure the life and safety of our kids. Dad- your job is to guide your child gently into new experiences. You pass on your values to your child by words and actions. Consider it your job to introduce your baby to “what’s next.”
3. Your infant will grow up very fast.
You will never regret anything so much in your life as not spending enough time with your kids. In the midst of diapers, colic, worrying about bills or whatever occupies your mind, your child is growing and changing every single day. The first year of life and early puberty hold lighting-fast changes within your child. Take pictures, look your infant in the eye and engage them for some time every day. For in the space of a metaphoric tomorrow, they will be driving away in the car to a life away from you.
4. Every stage of life moves backwards and forwards at times.
Expect progress and do not panic over setbacks. Your baby will show great verbal skills one day and the next day spend their time just crying. Walking comes quickly and then maybe the baby “forgets” how to walk the next day. Your child may be sitting up before every other kid at the day-care center but still not be able to put two words together when other babies are using sentences. These are all stages and there is a wide time-span when a child “should” do something.
5. Babies cry for a reason.
Your baby cries to communicate that there is a problem. Crying is supposed to be annoying as it is the signal from the baby to the parent to pay attention immediately. After some time, you will come to recognize different types of cries. There most likely will be one sound for hunger, one for dirty diapers and another for pain. Do not worry; you will learn to recognize these sounds. When a baby cries, take action. If you have tried all the solutions you can, strip the baby naked and be sure that there are no pins, pokes, constrictions and more affecting the child’s body. Finally- ask for help when you need it. Never hesitate to call an expert, doctor or trusted family member when you are in need of real guidance.
Being a dad is a great adventure. It is frustrating and rewarding all at the same time. Stay relaxed and focused on your child and you will do a great job.
The author, Sean Buvala, has four children ranging in age from preteen to adult. As well as presenting fatherhood programs, workshops and classes nationally since 1986, he is the author of “DaddyTeller: How to be a Hero to Your kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time.” Learn more about Sean’s fatherhood programs at http://www.daddyteller.com or follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/daddyteller
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