I think it's hard sometimes for dads when the mum is so integral and such a big part of their children's lives, understandably so. The thing that makes mums so wonderful is the amount of time they spend with their children. They are everything to them. But on the flip side of that sometimes this leaves you as a dad, not feeling left out but perhaps feeling less valuable.
I wanted to write this article today to put out a few of the things that I have found, doing with my son and daughter, extremely rewarding. My son, Oscar is six, and my daughter, Alexa is four. So, the things that I'm about to go into really are applicable to children of that age, but I hope that they might give some thoughts or ideas into the kinds of things that you might be able to do with your children as a dad.
1. Playing sportsI've always been huge into sport. I feel like it's a massive part of growing up, it trains you or teaches you to be disciplined, to listen to authority, to work in teams, and many other different and important qualities. So, when I get the opportunity to play sports with Oscar and Alexa I absolutely love it. Oscar particularly at his age and perhaps both being boys means he really enjoys playing football with me, we also play tennis and even baseball the other day. I absolutely love the bond that you get when it comes to sharing those moments.
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2. ReadingMy wife and I have been really into reading from the day our two were born. We both believe that it's a really important thing to instil in our children, but also to spend time bonding with them over. We read books at the appropriate levels throughout their childhood, up to where they are now. Oscar now can read himself and is very very good at it. The thing that I like to do slightly differently to Lizz, is to play about a bit. I’m probably a bit more playful as a dad and inject some fun into it. One of my ideas; I do these things that the children have affectionately named ‘shows’. So I read a book, like, that's not my unicorn and make it into a show where they sit on the floor on cushions, and I get them to put their hands up if they think it is my unicorn or not. And I call them out to tell me. We have rules, and we have fun, and they enjoy it. I think reading is a huge opportunity to bond and to instil certain values into your children from an early age.
I don't know if it's me and my nature, or if it's down to the way that Lizz and I interact with our children, but I've definitely taken up the mantle of the fun dad. That’s what I always wanted to be as I grew up and thought ahead to parenting. It usually looks like me being some form of climbing frame or joking around on the sofa being the tickle or hug monster and I absolutely love it. I love nothing more than the sound of laughter in our house. And knowing that the kids are having an absolutely amazing time with me, it just gives me so much pleasure.
4. Remote control cars
Now this is quite a new one for me. I recently saw a father and son in our local woods playing with a remote control car, and I was blown away. I quickly asked them what model it was and went back to research and what became clear was that there was this whole world that I didn't even know existed. So, I quickly looked a bit more into prices, not knowing whether this would be a fad or something of interest. I picked a remote control car at a fairly low price point just to see what was what. Having bought the remote control car and taking it out with Oscar it's clear that this was going to be something which we could really bond over and have a lot of fun with. So I then bought another one for me, obviously. And the two of us now have enjoyed numerous days, many many hours taking our remote control cars out and playing with them in our local woods together. And it's experiences like this which I really truly believe, Oscar will remember for life. I'm just so pleased that I found it.
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I guess you could argue that swimming probably should fall under sport but for me it's become something, particularly over lockdown, which I have enormously missed. Oscar is of the age where he's learning to swim, and can just about do half a length on his own. Alexa, is a short way behind him but not far. There's something about working together in a pool, to try and help him improve that I love. I coach and help him improve his swimming abilities which gives me an enormously rewarding feeling. Being in the pool is a nice place to be anyway. You’re getting exercise and you're doing a good thing, generally, and the pressure of the water around you, making you feel lighter is just fantastic. So to be doing that with your children and seeing how much they enjoy it is a fantastic feeling and one that I would encourage all parents to spend some time, if they can doing.
So there you have it. Five of the things that I enjoy doing the most with my children. As I said at the beginning of this article, sometimes being a dad is tricky. You can feel a little left out but there's no need for that. There are things that you can do with your children today which they will really, really enjoy and look back on with great affection, over their lives. I'd love to hear your ideas, so please do comment below.
About the Author: Alastair Banks Is a dad of two who lives in Devon. When he's not chasing the children around the house as the tickle monster, he specialises in B2B Personal Branding and helping Business Leaders understand the word of digital. He is the Co-Founder of Findingyourpassion and Optix Solutions. You can follow his journey of Parenthood on Instagram at @banksy6