As Father’s Day approaches, it’s time to start thinking of the best gift. So what can you buy? Cufflinks, a pint glass, tickets to a football game? Sure, he might appreciate all these gestures, but we think we have a novel idea that is far more valuable: time.
When a baby is born, so much of the emphasis is on the mum. Of course we understand why, as the mum has to recover from childbirth and in most cases it is the mum that gives the majority of the physical care when dad goes back to work (although this is’t always the case). Sometimes though this means that dad can take longer to form a bond with the baby and they often worry that they might get things wrong. The only remedy for this is quality time.
So how can you actually give time? In this post, we aim to explore 3 opportunities. You might want to give these as gifts or as an additional present. Our aim is simply to help encourage you to recognise the importance and benefits of father and baby time, and as a family you can find a way to make it work for you.
1) A day out
You have to make an effort and plan quality time together - it doesn't just happen without taking action. It doesn't have to be a big expensive affair (although a holiday is always lovely at any time of the year). You can keep it very simple: a day out at a local attraction; a trip to the beach; a meal out or a countryside walk with dad carrying the baby in a carrier. It's not about what you do that matters, but instead making the time to do it in the first place.
2) An IOU
Consider gifting dad with IOU vouchers from either you or baby. These could be simply cuddles, a film night on the sofa or his favourite home cooked meal. Perhaps you could offer to do one of his household chores and he can spend time with the baby while you do it. This is a great choice if you particularly enjoy being creative, and the handmade element will be appreciated.
3) Skills to share with baby
What better gift to give than a practical skill that he can use to bond with, settle and soothe the little one. After all, it's not actually about the time itself, you can spend all day with a baby and not interact a great deal, it's about the quality of the time they spend together.
Sometimes dads don’t know what to do when they are with their baby alone, they simply don’t spend enough time to learn (again, not always the case and will depend on individual family dynamics - the pressure to work long hours at this stage of life is often the reason for absence). If this is the case then any impending time could cause anxiety.
Skills such as baby massage, baby yoga, sensory and physical play and baby sign language are all hugely beneficial to babies and also for the adult as they are such enjoyable and calming activities to partake in. The process of baby massage and yoga actually releases oxytocin in both the adult and the baby; this is the happy hormone that is also known as the love hormone.
These activities also support the healthy development of the digestive system, flexibility, coordination, strength and communication. To play such a vital role in the growth of their baby could help dad feel more involved and valuable - it will naturally deepen the relationship between them.
These skills are best learned with the help of a trained and experienced leader though, so if you wish to gift them to dad you have two options: buy him a course with a provider like Tots Play, or go yourself and show him what you have learnt.
There are advantages to both ideas but some dads worry about attending a class that they perceive to be full of women. This is often a misconception though, dads regularly attend Tots Play and they are always made welcome. If they are not confident enough to go, or can't make the class times, then you can still attend yourself and show him what you've learnt. By doing this, you get to enjoy the process of transferring skills and these ‘lessons’ can be used as family time in their own right.
Why Tots Play?
Tots Play teaches the skills you would learn at 5 different baby classes within one class: yoga; massage; sign language; sensory; musical and physical play and they are all taught by a professional in a warm, fun and welcoming environment.
With our Baby Development course, which is for our youngest babies (birth to 6 months), you even receive a full colour, detailed workbook as part of the course so you can easily continue the activities at home and show dad or other family members how to get involved too.
At our classes for older babies and toddlers, you will also pick up lots of ideas for play times at home, ideal for all the family to enjoy together. To make it even more fun, why not download some favourite Tots Play songs to sing and dance along to (visit our music store HERE).
At Tots Play, we are all about helping you to get the most from this amazing and often crazy time in your lives, on Father's day and far beyond, and we would love to share this special programme with you.
To find a Tots Play class near you, click HERE, we can't wait to welcome you! x
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