Investing in Family: More Time With the Kids - Dad Edition

I got a Kindle for Christmas from my loving hubby, and I love it. I especially love the large selection of freebie ebooks out there (even if some of them could use some a bit more help in the editing and proofreading departments). Anyway, a couple of these free reads had a theme in them that caught my attention: workaholic dads/husbands. While this was not the main crux of the stories (one was the start of a zombie series and the other was a ghost story of sorts), the idea of the dad and/or husband working so much he barely knew his kids or had time to spend with his wife was there.

And, of course, this got me thinking. While it seems we read and hear a lot about the working mom juggling act, I don't think there's near as much dialogue on the working dad. While Moms wear many hats in their role as the household CEO (chef, nurse, psychologist, etc., etc.), Dads, too, have their own balancing act to perform within the family. Part of this is stepping up and spending quality time with the children. His children. So here are a few ideas on how Dad can fit this ultra-important part of his role into life. I know, I know, this is MomVesting. But for those dads and husbands lurking around out there, here's a post specifically with you in mind.

Make Time

As with many of my posts involving investing in the family or yourself, I offer up this same tidbit of advice: schedule it. You schedule meetings for work and appointments throughout the week; why is something as important as time spent with someone (in this instance, that someone is the kids) any less deserving of a spot on your calendar? Carve out some time for your kiddo and pencil it in.

Now, consider taking that same thought a bit further. Why not make your special time with Junior routine? Kids generally thrive on a schedule, and to know Dad is going to be in every Wednesday afternoon's lineup will fit right in with their natural craving of the expected. Plus, it will give both of you something to look forward to. Figure out what works best with both of you. Maybe it's a daily routine of a bedtime story, or maybe it's a weekly game of frisbee at the park, or maybe it's a monthly special breakfast at a favorite restaurant. Whatever it is, whatever time you can give, aim to make it a routine thing.

Say You'll Be There

Be present during this time. Remember, Junior truly just wants to spend time connecting with you. What he really doesn't want is to play on the swings while you're on the park bench engrossed with your smart phone. Make every effort to set aside the lure of texting, internet, and whatever else can draw your attention away for your scheduled time with your kiddo. He's only going to be this age at this point in time once; your Facebook account can wait for an hour or so.

Get Creative

And if you need a jump start in the "I made time, now what do we do?" category, here are a few simple ideas:

  • Hit the park: toss around a football, throw a frisbee, walk a trail together.
  • Play a round of mini-golf.
  • Spend a few minutes cuddled up together right before the kiddo's bedtime; talk and/or read a story.
  • Take in a museum, just the two of you.
  • Go for an ice cream.
  • Take over bath/shower duty for a night or three.
  • Work on a project together (anything; kids really do want to help out and this is a great opportunity to foster hobbies).
  • Attend your little princess's tea party.
  • Bake/cook something together (even if it's not Mother's Day!).

Remember, your kids want to spend time with you as much as you want to spend time with them. It doesn't take a lot of effort (or money!) on your part to set aside some time on a routine basis and do something with your children.

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Anonymous's picture

AverageJoe wrote:

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 23:18 Comment #: 1

Great post! I used to have a coach when I was a financial planner. She helped me focus on balance. Your advice was EXACTLY hers: schedule the time and don't deviate. Because of my coach, I was my son's den leader in scouts and my daughters soccer coach even though I was working some weeks as much as 60 hours. This would have never happened if I hadn't made it sacred time.

Now I feel happy that my kids are 16 and I have a good relationship with them.

Anonymous's picture

retirebyforty wrote:

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 16:21 Comment #: 2

Those are some great suggestions. I can't wait until the little guy is old enough to do some of those things. It will be a lot of fun.

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