There are some time-honored life hacks out there that fathers around the world have relied on for decades. However, plenty of dads (and moms!) out there aren’t just looking to save time or have fun: they’re searching for practical and effective ways to improve the quality of their parenting. If this sounds like you, then you’ll want to adopt these five life hacks courtesy of proud father of two Nando Caporicci:
- Schedule special time — and keep it.
Most dads have no problem scheduling special time with their child, whether it’s reading to their newborn (which parenting experts highly recommend) or heading out to the driveway to shoot some hoops. However, keeping to that commitment is much easier said than done, and what started out as a promise soon becomes an option, and then an afterthought. Nando Caporicci explains that any dads underestimate just how meaningful this special time is for their child, and how much they look forward to it — and frankly, depend on it. Occasionally delaying or rescheduling these get-togethers is unavoidable. Life happens and things come up. However, that should be the exception instead of the norm.
- Resist the urge to fix everything.
Dads the world over tend to react to problems by taking charge and fixing them. However, while this is (usually) expedient and efficient, it’s not necessarily good parenting because it doesn’t teach kids to be resilient, persistent, and capable of finding creative solutions on their own. Adds Nando Caporicci: “Obviously, the kinds of problems we’re talking about here aren’t things like broken furniture, shattered glass, or anything that adults should exclusively oversee fixing. Rather, we’re talking about problems like how to cope when other kids at the playground won’t share their toys. Dads — and moms — who constantly rescue their kids become what experts call `snowplow parents’ who unintentionally, but invariably, weaken their kids, and make it harder for them to handle challenges later in life.”
- Take your kids shopping and engage them throughout the process.
Many dads take their kids shopping. But relatively few engage them throughout the process. This is a missed opportunity to bond, communicate and educate. Nando Caporicci notes that one of the most valuable things that dads can do during shopping excursions — whether it’s to the grocery store, hardware store, or anywhere else — is help their child understand the link between earning money and prudently spending it. This will help them immensely as they grow and develop. Plus, they’ll feel a sense of pride from being part of the shopping experience, instead of just tagging along.
- Admit it when you make a mistake.
OK: of all the life hacks that turn ordinary fathers into legendary superdads, this is without question the toughest, but it’s also arguably the most profound and impactful. Men in general — and dads, specifically — tend to loathe apologizing for blunders; whether it’s failing to pick up milk on the way home from work, not reading the early cancelation fine print before booking a family vacation, and the list goes on. Regardless of the scenario, if you’ve truly made a mistake then apologizing conveys two critically important messages to your child: that holding oneself accountable for errors is the right thing to do, and that life goes on — and is sometimes even better — once a mistake is acknowledged and solutions or remedies are sought. Many dads feel that apologizing in front of their child — or even worse, to their child — is a sign of weakness. But on the contrary, it’s a demonstration of strength and character.
- Role model gratitude and generosity.
Of all the qualities that dads (and of course, moms too) pass onto their kids, two rise to the top in terms of building character and establishing a foundation for a fulfilling and meaningful life: gratitude and generosity. Adds Nando Caporicci: “Dads don’t have to demonstrate these traits in big ways. Simply saying thank you for small things throughout the day and being understanding and forgiving instead of judgemental and critical, goes a very long way. Kids are sponges and mirrors. They take in everything and reflect what they see in their parents and role models — the good and the bad.”
Nando Caporicci hopes that whether you are already a dad or simply hope to be one in the future that you take these life hacks to heart to not only make yourself better but help your kids lead better lives.