Since many of our friends have moved into the parent category, we’re starting a new section on this blog. It’s going to be geared toward parenting.
NOTE: We’re not experts. Jonathan is only 3 months old at the time this post is being published. But we hope what we’ve learned in the short 3 months of our experience can help others. I’m also hoping to get some other friends who have had more experience, or just different experiences for that matter, to write in and share as well.
So, to start things off, here’s the first tip:
Babies can be a lot of work. It can be a hard adjustment. But it’s worth it!
Keep it simple:
Babies don’t have an attitude like teenagers can. You don’t have to impress them and you don’t have to be cool. All you have to do is smile and talk like you’re having the time of your life. They jump right in.
And you don’t have to have a toy. Jonathan loves it when I take a burp cloth and pretend that he’s blowing his nose in it. I wriggle it around and make noises as I press it on his nose. He has a huge smile and coos every time.
Plan on it:
I’ve changed the last half hour of my work day so I can start to shift gears so by the time I’m home, I’m ready to have fun. I get to fly Jonathan around the house like a superhero, teach him how to ride a dog like it’s a horse, dance to M.C. Hammer, and all sorts of other silly things that I hadn’t really pictured myself doing two years ago.
I want my son to know that when I get home, it’s time to interact. My winding down needs to happen in the car on the way home, not when I walk in the door and see my family. “Daddy’s home” should be an exciting thing to hear. I’m taking the time now to teach myself how to be a loving husband and father by coming home with energy for my family rather than spent from the day. After all, my family is a higher priority than my job!
Some things can be planned out before I leave the office and I think about spending the evening with my family. Other times, it’s the random thing that sticks and becomes a tradition. SuperJonathan started out as a whim one night, but it’s turned into a regular thing at our house.
Use every opportunity:
We just got back from a wedding in Nashville. One of the first things I did when we arrived was bounce Jonathan on the bed. His smile and giggles made it so much fun for me that I think I enjoyed it much more than he did. And it made the drive and afternoon sleepiness go away for me. And he wasn’t fussy anymore because he was having fun. Sure, he was tired from the car ride and the car seat, but he was having a ball with his Daddy.
Find your style:
Maybe sound effects aren’t your style. Maybe you’re too cool for baby talk. Find out what works for you and what makes your child smile. Then stick with that. Remember that your goal is to make your child laugh, not let you relax.
Though babies aren’t as sharp as adults may be, they can still tell when you’re not paying attention. Don’t think that just because you’re making the noise they like it’s ok for you to check your email on your phone. This is your child we’re talking about. Focus on building that parent-child relationship now. It will help you more than you know.
After all, if you’re not having fun together now, why do you think it will change in the future?
What are some things you’ve done that have been fun for your family?