Read these 24 Doīs & Donīts Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Dad tips and hundreds of other topics.
Don't wait until another time in your life to start your relationships with your kids. Start immediately. Your children will grow too quickly to wait for you to fit them in when time and life allow. You must set family as your main priority over work and sport and friends. If you don't start now, they may not be so responsive one day when it suits you.
When you're spending time with your kids, don't have a "To Do" list. If you're trying to juggle children and jobs to be done, chances are that the jobs won't get done, the kids won't be happy, you'll end up stressed and your relationship with your children will suffer. When it's "Kids time", plan to do nothing else. Anything else that you do achieve is a bonus.
If you are called into an argument between your children, avoid becoming the judge of 'who's right' and 'who's wrong'. Some kids can learn very quickly how to manipulate the system and get their siblings into trouble for what they, themselves may have started. You are better as a conciliator, rather then as an arbitrator. Push more for them to solve their dispute between themselves rather then you solving it. If they won't. and continue to fight, separate them. If it's over a toy, sometimes it is better for you to take the toy away from both of them, for the moment, until they can decide between them who will play with it.
It's important for Dads to laugh with children - not AT them. Deliberately embarrassing children with redicule or criticism can destroy their self esteem, and possibly build a resistance between them and you. This is a balancing act. Everyone should learn how to handle criticism and redicule, but it should be taught to your children in measured, positive doses to educate and build rather than destroy.
Keep away from balcony railings anything that can be climbed on. In fact, keep these things off balconies altogether unless they are too heavy to be moved near a railing. Kids don't have an in-built sense of danger - especially young ones, and climbing is so much fun for them to do. If you have a table and chairs on your balcony, consider either fixing them down (away from the railing), attaching them to something (away from the railing) or using child-proof locks and gates on all accesses to the balcony. Locking off balconies is recommended regardless of the other safety precautions taken. Children are incredibly adept at finding ways to do things, like climbing over railings.
Do you find that you answer your child a lot of the time with just the word "no!"? Does this tend to make them respond favourably and keep a peacful air in the home? Probably not. Often, we become frustrated with stopping our children from doing what they want, to the point where we stop giving them reasons why they can't do things. "No" is not a good reason to stop doing something. If you asked someone for something and got a "no" answer, wouldn't you want to know why not? If you give a good reason why your child can't do something, you may find that they will respond more to you.
Do you often find yourself on the defense in discussions with your wife or children? Sometimes we spend so much time trying to defend our position that we totally miss the point that the other person is trying to get across to us. Be prepared to be open in discussions in order to hear what is being said. Criticism can be a valid and useful way to improve your own performance, or can be a veil over other deeper problems that your spouse / child has. Learn to perceive the difference. You can help the most when you can identify the root of the problem instead of just defending your own ego. Remember that pride is good - when it's in the appropriate circumstances.
Don't belittle children. They may be little but they still deserve respect and proper treatment. Kids often take comments more personally then they let on. You may think that what you are saying is having no effect. However, their external calm or diffidence can be hiding a tornado of emotions, including deep pain.
If you constantly tell older kids not to do something, they will probably end up doing it. For instance, if you constantly tell them not to smoke, the focus on smoking and the rebelliousness in the child will most likely cause them to smoke. Worse then this is that they may hide it from you to avoid your disapproval. It is better to allow them to decide - they will anyway, but let them know how you feel, and encourage them not to hide things from you.
If you find you are yelling at or punishing the kids a lot, you may be using them as an outlet for your frustrations and anger. You may be angry at something that someone else has said or done, and it is often very easy to "snap" at the kids. It's important that they don't get treated unrealistically as this can affect their self esteem and confidence. If you are frustrated or angry about something, use other methods of release rather then taking it out on the kids. Some methods include chopping firewood or hitting a pillow - find what works for you and is harmless to others.
Separate the distractions of work-life and home-life or you will find that you function less effectively in both. IF you find it difficult to switch off work problems, stop up the road for five minutes, or outside a park, and mentally conclude your thoughts of work for the day. Better still, spend the last part of your day at work writing down your current issues and possible solutions; it will be there the next day. You can then deal with the issues at home more refreshed.
Don't get into arguments with the kids whilst you are driving the car. The kids can drive you nuts while you're busy driving them around, but you must avoid the habit of fighting with them and being distracted from the road. Your main role in the car is to get everyone to your destination safely, even if that means allowing more noise then usual. Often, the kids may be mucking up to get your attention. They need to learn that you must concentrate whilst driving and that it is inappropriate to distract you. Either be firm in teaching the to be quiet or learn to block a lot of the noise out.
There is an old saying that honesty is the best policy. This is especially true when raising children. If you lie to your children, they'll know, and you send them the message that it's okay to lie. If you want to maintain respect, both for and from your children, you must avoid lying at all costs. Even "little white lies" should be avoided. There are no degrees of lies: a lie is a lie, no matter how small it is.
Don't ever make idle threats. If you don't follow through on a threat to do something (e.g. take away a certain toy for misbehaving), your child learns not to fear the threat. Also, by only following through on some threats, the child gets a confused view on discipline and an inconsistent view of the world. Also, don't ever threaten what you're not prepared to do.
Don't put your children's friends down or trash them in any way. Friends are incredibly important to children as they are often the only people their age that they relate to. They need their friends for play, comfort and support. If you put them down, your children will feel that you are personally attacking them and denying them their right to choose who they want as friends.
If you are teaching your child to drive a car, don't take them straight out onto busy roads. If you have an area nearby that has few / no cars on it, start them on the basics there. This may be something like a new sub-division that has roads laid but no houses built yet, a ring road around a recreation oval, a paddock (that you are allowed to drive on and is safe to do so), or quiet back streets. Leave the busier roads until he / she has gained confidence in driving and stopping especially.
Give your children more attention when they are good rather then when they are bad. It is easier to ignore the quiet, well behaved times and interact more to your kids when they are being naughty or not doing what they are asked to do. However, this sends to them the message that to get attention, they need to be naughty. Young children must have attention from the important people around them - including you - and they will do anything they can to get that attention. Even bad attention (being told off or yelled at) is better then no attention in their eyes. Give them more attention when they are good and they will be good more often in order to receive more attention.
If you have appointments and don't know what to do with the kids - try to combine their needs with yours. For example, a visit for you to the dentist can be easily be combined with a check up for your children in the same visit. That way you don't have to try to fit in when it suits them or try to make alternative arrangements for their care whilst you are out.
As a treat, don't give your kids food or toys too often. Treat them instead with positive actions. Treating with food makes certain foods become almost addictive. For example, if you are constantly treating your kids with ice cream every time they are good, they will associate ice cream with being good. It will then become something that they will indulge in when they are older in order to treat themselves. When they can afford to keep buying it themselves, they can continue to "treat" until it actually becomes a problem. This is the same with toys. Treating too often with toys can set up a desire to buy something in order to treat, which can result later on in compulsive spending patterns. The best things in life are free - love, respect, attention, etc. Reinforce the fact that they are the best things by making them a treat as well as a right.