How To Be a Great Dad

Being a Dad has changed over the years. Men are no longer necessarily the main bread winner, are more likely to be stay-at-home Dads, and are increasingly hands-on when it comes to nappy changing, night feeds and being there at the birth.  Not surprising then, that Father’s Day is becoming just as big a day to celebrate as Mother’s Day.  

When Scott Kelby, the author of The Book for Guys Who Don't Want Kids came out and said “He positively and absolutely didn’t want kids” he spoke for many a reluctant young man, maybe even fearful, of becoming a Dad for the first time.  Like Scott though, it seems that once men take the plunge they’re often pleasantly surprised, overcome their fears and become first-class Dads.

Fun Fact: There are 10 times more UK stay-at-home Dads than there were a decade ago 

How to be a great Dad | Take the Plunge

Here’s some of our Top Tips to help you be a great Dad:

Use your imagination...

All kids love an imaginary tea party, transforming Dad, back arched, into that special horsey they can ride on, or pretending they can drive the car by randomly twisting the steering wheel, blowing the horn and switching the hazard warning lights off and on until they flatten the battery.

A brilliant Dad will be prepared to go through this ritual on a daily basis and the kids will love him for it, as will your osteopath, car mechanic and psychiatrist.

Give your Kid’s and their Mum some space...

As soon as you child is ready for the great outdoors get out there with them and have some fun.

First time parents tend to be a bit over protective and don’t want to expose their little ones to any risks, or discomfort at all.  Taken to its extreme new parents might not leave the house two years in case “anything happens”, but kids aren’t designed to break, they tend to bounce when they fall and in the long run, staying in all the time could cause more problems than it avoids.

Dad’s that take their kids out and about instead of plonking them in front of Mr Tumble and Cbeebies all day will soon have a happy smiling baby, mum will have a few well deserved hours to herself and you never know your luck, after all that running and jumping about the little darling might just sleep better too.


Late night feeds? No problem - Great Dads love ‘em... 

No matter how much a parent loves their child the one that has to get up to a screaming-hungry baby night after night will eventually start to feel the strain.  So a good Dad will do some of those feeds and see it, burping and all, as the privilege it is.

No Dad, no matter how fabulous, though will be able to do the early breast feeds, but Super Dad can get up and make Mum a cup of tea, or just be there adjusting the matchsticks that are keeping Mum's eyes open. We’re not suggesting that to qualify as a great Dad a man should be expected to soothe nursing Mum with poignant guitar music, but just being bothered to turn up on some of those night feeds will really be appreciated.


A man shouldn’t be afraid to show affection, but a high-five doesn’t count...

Kids remember Dad’s proper hugs, but in this Rambo macho world men could be forgiven for thinking giving your kids a big hug is, well sissy.  Dad’s needn’t feel awkward showing love and affection and offer blokey substitute celebrations like a slap on the back, or worse a high-five.  A child that feels loved is a happy child that will jump into your arms when they see you, so make sure you feel free to express to your child that you care.

A Dad’s love is a powerful message and the love that’s conveyed through a proper hug, or a lovely snuggle of the sofa will stay with them forever.

Fun Fact: 34% of Dads gave up work or reduced their hours to look after their children 

How to be a great Dad | Take the kids out

Be positive and break the cycle...

No parents are perfect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remember our own childhood and learn from it.  We’ve all got our stories. How we wished Dad had been able to do this for us, or Mum had felt the need to do that, but instead of looking back in anger, turn those negatives about the way you were brought up into a more positive attitude towards your own kids.

Oh, and don’t forget to make a mental note of all the good things your parents did for you too; and whatever you do, there’s no point letting Mum and Dad know where you think they went wrong while raising you all those years ago, they probably didn’t mean it, and anyway, they might cut you out the will if you tell ‘em...


Time flies when you’re having fun, so make sure you do...

Where did all that time go?  One minute they’re newborn and then, before you know it, they’re three and at nursery school. 

When they’re all grown up it’ll be too late so take the time now and enjoy it while you still can.  It’s not always easy for working Dads, but sometimes it might just be worth dipping into those savings, not trading in the car next time and taking some time out to spend some quality time with the kids.  They’ll soon forget the flashy cars and the extension, but they’ll treasure that holiday you thought you couldn’t afford and that day off Dad took to take you out for that day at that amazing theme park. 

Pull a sicky if you have too and never have to say, “I wish I’d have spent more time with the kids...”

Listen to your kids and try to work out what they really want...

It’s funny but, if you stop and think about it, do your children really care what kind of job you have, or how many degrees you’ve got, or awards you’ve won?  No, what they want is your time. The Kids might want Dad to play a game of footy at the park, or want Dad to sit down with them and read them a story before they go to bed. 

Listen carefully to what your child is telling you and try to give it to them.  It might be simply “Play with me Daddy”, or “Sit by me” and watch some mind-numbing Children’s TV programme, but, to a small child it’s their whole world.  A good Dad knows that what children want, above all else, is for their Dad to be there for them, whether they’re all grown up and living away from home, or not. 

You never know, if you listen carefully enough to your kids they might even learn to listen to you too and make sure they get you that little something for Father’s Day you’ve had your eye on?

Fun Face: 43% of stay-at-home dads say they feel “lucky” to have the opportunity to spend more time with the kids

How to be a great Dad | Be Positive, Have Fun & Listen


We hope you’ve enjoyed our light-hearted look at what we think makes a great Dad and whether you’re all grown up, or a Mum looking for a way to say thanks we hope you will identify with our little article and find plenty of gift ideas and Father’s Day cards to help you show Dad how much you love him on Father’s Day too.

Before we go, don’t worry if you’re not doing all of the things we think it takes to be a great Dad – no one ever can.  Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and a great Dad isn’t just about how skilfully you hold your baby, intuitive winding techniques, or being first in the queue to participant in a game of imaginary shops. Being a great dad is about finding the right balance for you and your family and a whole lot of other things we just haven’t got space for here. 

So, is the Twenty-First century Dad the new Mum, well today’s Dad does a whole lot more with the Kids than they could in the past, but it’s not a knock-out contest and Mums and Dads should never forget to make some time for one another because it’s hard to be great Dad without a brilliant Mum.

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