As a working dad, it’s not always easy to juggle your time and create space in your schedule for all of the personal and professional obligations you have on your plate. But if you want to raise happy and healthy kids, you must find ways to spend as much time as possible with your children.
The Need for Father-Child Time
Research shows that dads are more involved today than they’ve ever been – spending three times as much time with their children as fathers did just two generations ago. And, perhaps most encouraging, is the fact that men are doing more with that time.
“Back in 1982, a whopping 43% of fathers admitted they’d never changed a diaper. Today, that number is down to about 3%, and that’s great because research indicates that when dads dress, diaper and bathe their babies, the father-child relationship grows stronger as the child grows,” Heather Marcoux writes for Motherly.
The benefits of father-child time are something that’s been well researched over the years. The data shows that children who spend large amounts of time with their dads have higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, greater confidence, better health, higher IQs, and more empathy.
Practical Ways to Spend More Time With Your Kids
The question most working dads have is, how? How do you spend more time with your children while trying to carve out a successful career that also demands a significant time commitment?
While not easy, it is possible. Here are some suggestions:
1. Mark it Down in Your Schedule
What do you do when you have an important business meeting? You make a note of it on your agenda. What do you do when you have a business trip? You mark it on your calendar. The same should apply for time with your kids. If you want to consistently spend time with your kids, put it on your schedule.
2. Find Flexible Income Producing Opportunities
It’s hard to spend much quality time with your kids when you’re working 50 or 60 hours per week in an office – especially when they have their own after-school activities and commitments. In order to spend more time with them during the day, consider picking up some flexible income-producing opportunities.
Many working dads find real estate investments to be lucrative and flexible. Just make sure you know what you’re doing. Others find that they enjoy working in a remote capacity with their current employer. Find what works for you.
3. Involve Your Kids
When your kids are old enough, you can involve them in your professional pursuits as a way of teaching them skills and simultaneously spending quality time with them. Find age-appropriate tasks that they’ll enjoy and pull them in.
The same goes for your hobbies. By getting your kids excited about your hobbies, you don’t have to choose between children and hobbies in your free time. You can do both at once!
4. Prioritize Bedtime
While every family has its own routines, you may find it helpful to prioritize bedtime and use this as an opportunity to consistently connect with your kids each day. In particular, you should read your kids bedtime stories.
“Harvard researchers actually published findings that showed children whose fathers read to them at night had better grades, better concentration skills, and fewer behavioral issues,” Joanna Operacz writes for Aleteia. “This seems to be due in part to the fact that fathers and mothers ask children different kinds of questions about the story, stimulating different kinds of thought.”
Stop Feeling Dad Guilt
While working moms have long felt guilty about trying to balance work responsibilities with parenting, 21st-century dads are now feeling some of these same emotions.
As the authors of a recent study out of Boston College point out, “[They want] to climb the corporate ladder but at the same time want to spend more time with their children. [These are] fathers who assert that their children’s interests are their top priority but who are also highly susceptible to the demands of their corporate cultures.”
At the end of the day, you can only strive for balance. You’ll likely never be able to obtain a perfect ratio, nor should that be the goal. Make a commitment to being an engaged father who spends time with his children and the rest will fall into place.
This content is sponsored by Larry Alton.