Prioritize fatherhood. Some dads worry that by emphasizing family so much they will lose their edge at the workplace and not be as competitive for positions as those who lack family ties or neglect them. Research doesn’t support that fear. Plan your work around your family. Decide that father-child time is not negotiable, but work time is. With calendar or planner in hand, schedule first the activities of your children, the school events, the games, then write in your work obligations.
Get involved with your child from the beginning. Remember, there is only one thing you can’t do for a baby. And even then, you can still establish a role for yourself: bathing, burping, comforting and taking the baby out for a walk.
Become an Expert Dad. Keep up with the language of child rearing. Talk to other dads informally or in groups or in parenting classes. Read articles and books about good fathering. In too many families, the woman becomes the “expert” and Dad feels relegates his responsibilities to her. Don’t let that happen to you.
Have regular one-on-one time with each child. Sometimes it’s fun to talk while you’re doing errands or making home repairs, but be sure that there are times that you turn off the TV, put down the newspaper, and give your kids your undivided attention. Arrange alone times with your kids. Go out to eat a favorite meal or to do an activity the child enjoys or just go on an errand alone together.
Show affection often. Even if older kids seem squeamish, kids enjoy a hug and always enjoy encouraging words from their dad. My son’s friends asked why he had such a random collection of shirts from so many different cities. He said his Dad brings shirts from the trips he has been on.
Make yourself Available Always. Interrupt your meetings when anyone in the family calls. Learn to text and respond quickly. Don’t be busy all of the time. Build in opportunities for spontaneous conversations.
Take kids to work. This is a great way to teach them about the world of work that you are a part of. Take kids with you on business trips when possible.
Stay connected when you have to be away. Sometimes work takes dads out of town. Set up a routine to stay connected. Some families schedule a specific time Dad will call that is convenient for all members of the family. When you return, bring home something special for the kids. It need not be extravagant. My boys wear my gifts proudly.
Teach them. No dad has every gift or skill. Kids may learn certain things from other males in their lives. Use opportunities to share your talents. In my family, I lack auto mechanical ability, but I have passed on the gift and love of sports by personally coaching their teams.
Connect with your child at all levels. Make sure you have some contact with every aspect of your child’s life. Visit the school, meet the teacher and kids and have at least fleeting contact with an after-school activity. If you have seen where your children are and met their friends, you will have more to talk about and more interesting conversations. Parent involvement during children’s schooling is critical to their school success. Work with your employer to see that your work schedule doesn’t preclude your involvement in your child’s schooling.