You may have heard that modern dads spend more time with their kids than previous generations did — three times more, in fact. But the expectations we put on parents haven’t let up one bit. We still expect moms and dads both to balance work, parenting and time to themselves — all on little to no sleep and in the same 24-hour day as everybody else.
As dads get more hands-on in the household, it’s crucial that dads, too, find a healthy balance between devoting time to their kids and making time for themselves. So, we rounded up the best dads we know (we don’t have your number) and asked them how they manage it all. So here it is: real advice from real dads — dadvice, if you will.
Chad, Art Director
Disable your notifications.
I’ve taken all social media and news alerts off of my phone, and my family and I are better for it. I can still access everything on the computer if I need to, but the extra step means I do it far less.
Protect family time.
For me, there’s no work allowed from the time I get home until the kids are in bed. Deciding to protect that time gives me space to unwind and allows me to turn my attention to the family.
I also enjoy cooking, so that’s a great outlet to relax and accomplish something that needs to be done, anyway.
Aaron, Operations Manager
Make everyday errands an adventure.
We try to take a few minutes every day to do something together, even if it’s just a normal errand (we call them “adventures” to make them sound less mundane). Maybe it’s going to Lowe’s, maybe it’s grocery shopping, maybe it’s a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood, maybe it’s just helping me drag the trash can out to the street. My kids are little, so they go to bed pretty early and it’s easy to miss their “prime time” if I’m not careful. It might take twice the time to accomplish these tasks with the kids tagging along, but it’s worth it.
Justin, Graphic Designer
Swap out your scenery.
My laptop stays closed until after my son is in bed, and I'd say we really take advantage of the weekends more than we used to. We try to get out and about together, even for something as simple as a trip to the store (or as fun as a trip to the zoo). It's not only good family bonding but it also keeps me sane because I can only chase him up and down the hallway so many times. Variety is key.
Matt, Marketing Manager
Make mornings count.
I carve out quality time with my kids in the morning. I am the one who makes breakfast and gets them ready for school, so I try to sit at the table with them and talk about the day we have planned instead of running around the house while they eat. It allows me to make sure they have everything they need and are mentally ready for the day ahead.
Rob, Managing Director
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
I had to recognize that while I lived in a purely analog era, my kids’ world is digital. For instance, when my son was about eight, I noticed he was watching videos of people playing video games. I thought that while playing video games was bad enough, watching someone else play a video game was ridiculous. I told him as much and without hesitation he replied, "This is how I learn to beat new levels. You watch football on TV and you don't even play football. That's stupid." Busted. There’s always a learning curve, but it’s my job to stay current with their lives and learn how to support my kids across all mediums — digital, analog and everything in between.
Dan, Author and Public Speaker
One-on-one time is key.
Parenting is all about multitasking, and carving out time to spend with your kids is no different. When they were little, I took one (just one) child with me whenever I went somewhere even slightly interesting. No music in the car. No agenda. Just a child-led conversation. And if possible, we got a snack at some point during the journey.
David, Ultrasound Technician
Show, don’t tell.
When working around the house, keep your kids involved. This is extra challenging, yes, due to the fact that each task takes significantly longer when they are little, but it shows the value and joy we get out of hard work. And you get to share a sense of accomplishment by working on something together.
Mike, Warehouse Manager
Alter your perspective.
If your kids go out into the world – school, public, friends’ houses, wherever – and generally behave themselves, that’s your reward as a parent. Consider all good behavior at home a bonus. It can be hard to reconcile that perspective with what you think their behavior should be all the time, but it can really reduce your frustration. Yes, it would be great if they behaved for you all the time, but if they leave your house and act how you want them to, it shows they’re actually doing what you’re teaching them, even though it might not be for you.
For all you dads out there, what tips, tricks and advice have you learned along the way? Anything worth passing along? We love hearing directly from you.