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Letting Dad Get Involved

Many of us probably wish our husbands had a little more involvement when it comes to childcare.

Despite the fact that women have taken on so many more roles and responsibilities in the last forty to fifty years, our domestic responsibilities are essentially unchanged since our grandparents’ time.

Luckily, your husband is ready and willing to take on some new roles as well. A 2009 article in The Guardian said that 82% of full-time working dads would like to take a more active role in their child’s care. (Careful what you wish for, fellas!)

Great news, right? The help you need is sitting right next to you, he loves your child, and he’s willing to work for free!

The question is, “Are you willing to let him?”

For a lot of mothers, letting Dad take more childcare responsibility comes at the price of losing some control over the way things are done.

You might initially love the idea, but then start to think it’s easier if you just handle things yourself, once you realize that he’s not doing things the way you’re accustomed to.

So how can you take advantage of Dad’s willingness to help without disrupting your carefully planned routines?

  • Accept differences in your parenting styles

You’re probably not going to agree on the “right” way to handle every situation, but different approaches can actually be beneficial when it comes to parenting. Dad’s strategy for dealing with issues like finicky eating or bedtime belligerence might just prove to be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Resist the urge to intervene whenever you see him using different tactics, and you might just be surprised by the results!

  • Be supportive

If Dad’s first attempt at changing a diaper or giving a bottle doesn’t go smoothly, don’t give him a hard time, even if you’re kidding around. Minimalizing his efforts will only serve to take him out of his comfort zone, (which he’s probably well outside of already) and take away his motivation to get involved.

After all, nobody likes doing things they’re bad at. Wait for him to ask for direction before showing him what to do, let him know how much you appreciate his help, and ask for his input and opinions. Remember, he’s your partner, not your pupil.

  • Be specific about what would help

Having Dad take on a share of the childcare responsibilities can be a huge help, but husbands typically need a little direction when they first start to pitch in. Write out a list of things you would like him to help with, or have a chat about what responsibilities you’d like him to take off your hands.

  • Give him some space

As new moms, we’re programmed to be vigilant and hands-on, but it’s important to leave Dad and baby alone together once in a while. If you’re constantly hovering whenever he’s giving your child a bath or changing a diaper, it sends the message that you don’t trust him to do things right.

Leaving the room for a while will show Dad you have confidence in his abilities, gives him some bonding time with his child, and allows you to take some time for yourself. It’s a win/win solution!

It can be tough for mothers to give up control over their kids’ schedules and routines. Some people might even make you feel inadequate if you tell them you’re feeling overloaded, but trying to do everything yourself will inevitably leave you agitated and exhausted.

Getting Dad more involved in non-traditional roles will strengthen the bond between him and your child, help take some of the workload off of your shoulders, and make for better communication and understanding between the two of you regarding your parenting choices.

If you haven’t yet, you may also want to check out Kids: The Manual. It’s a discipline system for handling some of the most common behavioral challenges in children ages 2-12.

Learn more here.

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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
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My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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