Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ten Tips for Stay-at-home Dads

Being a new parent can be an exciting, yet frightening time for anyone, let alone for dads who are planning to stay home with their little one. Fear not though, there are ways to make your experience less traumatizing…even enjoyable! Here are ten tips that can help guide you on your way to successfully navigating the seemingly treacherous waters of being a stay-at-home dad.

Take Advantage of Naptime
Naptime will be one of the few opportunities you have time to relax and get a little bit of time to yourself, so take full advantage. If it has been a particularly busy day or you didn’t get much sleep last night, you might want to consider taking a nap along with your little one.

Try Two Naps
A morning and afternoon nap for you precious pumpkin can help break up the day, as well as give you more time to yourself. It doesn’t always work, but if you can build it into your routine, you’ll learn to love double nap days.

Get Outside
Depending on the weather where you live this might not always be a reasonable suggestion. But being outdoors can be the perfect way to break up monotony and get both of you some fresh air and exercise. It can also be a great way to tire out your baby and get him ready for a nap!

Teaching Activities
When it comes to teaching your little one, try to find learning activities that you both enjoy doing. This tip might sound a bit silly, but if you like to do these learning activities as well, you will tend to do them more often, which will benefit your baby.

Play Ball
Whether your little one is a boy or a girl, playing ball together can be fun and a good stress reliever for both of you. This activity can also help your baby built hand/eye coordination and stay active.

Utilize Onesies
Onesies can be the best friends of stay-at-home dads. They make changing diapers a breeze and are easy to get on and off.

Changing Diapers
Ah yes, the most dreaded activity in all of parenthood, the changing of the diaper. Like many things though, once you get used to it and have a routine, it really isn’t that bad. There are a couple of helpful hints though when it comes to changing. First, wipe your baby’s bottom with the gentle, gingerly touch that you would appreciate. This will help avoid redness, chaffing and irritation. Second, change diapers when needed. Over-changing can be wasteful and under-changing can cause rashes, irritation, and general discontent with your baby. Finally, practice changing diapers in the dark. By learning how to change a diaper by feel, it will allow you to do so at night without bright lights that will further awaken you and your baby.

Don’t Always React
By not reacting or overreacting to every boo-boo, trip, stumble, fall, or bump, your baby can better learn to cry only when crying is necessary. It can also help you determine when there is a real problem or if the crying is only related to a temper tantrum or attention fit.

Talk To Him/Her
While this might seem obvious, there will probably be times when you actually forget to talk to your baby. When an adult isn’t around to actively converse with you over the course of eight to ten hours, talking can begin to seem pointless. But remember, your baby needs interaction too and just hearing the sound of your voice can calm and sooth as well as help him or her begin to build a vocabulary and social skills.

Be The Boss
Finally, let your baby know who is in charge. This is not always easy, but if you set a routine and stick to it, as well as maintain and enforce rules constantly and consistently, you can win this battle of wills. In addition, by changing the tone of your voice when the baby has done something wrong, it will let him or her know when you mean business and when they have done something inappropriate.