Bonding Ideas For Fathers of Young Children
While a lot has been written about the mother–child bond, the father–child bond has not received the same attention. Here are some bonding ideas for fathers.
By Arun Sharma
Fathers are increasingly warming up to the idea of bonding with their children. However, the way fathers bond with children is different from the way mothers do it. Here are some ways fathers can bond with their children, especially during the early years of childhood; for, the phase between infancy to preschool is the most important stage to establish a connect between parent and child.
Bonding with infants:
While mothers are able to forge a close bond with their babies quite early, fathers take some time to get things going. Some of the things you can do to bond with your baby are:
- Hold your baby close: Babies like being close to their parents. Holding your baby close to your body not only brings both of you closer, but also helps to stabilise her heart rate, improve sleeping pattern, and decrease crying episodes.
- Make faces: Look into the eyes of your baby, make silly faces, and let him touch your face. While your baby is looking at you, make sure that you keep an expressive face to help him learn about the various expressions.
- Talk to your baby: Sing songs, talk and make cooing sounds. As your baby gets used to your voices, she will learn to trust you and feel encouraged to begin making sounds.
- Take him out for a walk: Like adults, babies also love going out for a walk. So, take him out and give him the opportunity to take in the various sights, sounds and smells. Going outdoors increases your baby’s awareness, and makes him feel calm and relaxed.
Bonding with toddlers:
By the time your child turns a toddler, she would be raring to explore the world and gain new experiences. There are quite a few things you and your toddler can do together to improve your sense of bonding.
- Take your toddler out: Toddlers are full of energy and are very much interested in going outdoors. Take your child out to the park or to a nearby playground. Also, take along a ball or the tricycle or a pull-along toy that helps your toddler engage in physical activity.
- Read to your child: Buy some hard-board books that have bright pictures or small stories. Sit with your toddler and point to the pictures and explain it to him or read out the story. This will lay the foundation for reading in your child.
- Encourage asking questions: When your toddler is a little older, engage her in conversations and encourage her to ask questions. You can teach your child to ask questions by repeating questions yourself, as children learn by mimicking.
- Take part in activities: Most of what your child does would look silly to you. But that shouldn’t prevent you from participating in his favourite activities. For example, both of you can play together with the ball or scribble using crayons or splash the water in the bath tub.
Bonding with preschoolers:
If you are the father of a preschooler, there are several exciting things you can do to bond with her.
- Do activities together: A preschooler is just waiting to prove how capable he is. So, take his help in washing your car or bike, cleaning the backyard or putting the dirty clothes in the basket, setting things in order on the centre table and so on.
- Venture into the creative space: Get some cardboard, glue, a pair of scissors, colour pencils and colour paper, and design a cottage or create a landscape or a wall hanging. The possibilities are endless.
- Develop his imagination: Together with your child, make some puppets to organise a puppet show for him and his friends, or tell your child to narrate his own adventures.
- Shower words of encouragement: Turn into a spectator and watch your child go about doing what she must. Praise her efforts when she realises her goal, or guide her towards achieving her goal.
- Engage in a conversation: During mealtimes or while driving or taking a walk, engage in a conversation. Listen to what your child says and share your ideas with him.
Some parents experience ‘love at first sight’, while others take a little longer to warm up to their little ones. However, no parent should ever feel guilty about not being able to bond with their child in an instant. Reading our article would help you set the ball rolling; you can also come up with your own innovative ideas to keep the process going.
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