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Fatherhood: 7 Cheap or Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time with Your Little Kid

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Fatherhood: 7 Cheap or Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time with Your Little Kid

Yep, money is tight but that is not going to stop you from being a great dad. First off, since this isn’t 1950 any more, I don’t have to tell you how important it is for you to find time to spend being Dad with your kids and not at your kids, right? With that settled, here are some ways you can do several fun things with your kids that will cost you nothing or are otherwise very inexpensive.

1. Take a walk.
Go walking with your children around the block, around the park, around your back yard if you must. You will most likely need the exercise to get rid of your growing middle and your child needs to see something besides the TV or the back of your head while they ride in your car.

DaddyTeller.com  Go to the Zoo Fatherhood programs2. Go to the zoo (or something like that).
Get off the expensive and mind-numbing amusement-park daddy-go-round. There are affordable places (like museums and zoos) for you to go where your child can see new things, touch a turtle, make some pictures and hear a dinosaur’s roar or the like. This is a huge learning opportunity for your kid and most of these places are very affordable to visit. Super hint: many museums have monthly or weekly free-admission days. I know this will be hard for some dads who do not like to be in places like this. News flash: This is about your kids, not you and your boring man-world. With my kids now much older, I regret not having done more of this with them when they were little.

3. Eat in an interesting place.
Sure, the in-front-of-the-TV space has become the new kitchen table. Try having more meals at the dining room table. Then, get interesting and have a picnic. Make sandwiches, grab some chips and celery sticks and go sit somewhere to eat. The park or the tables outside the mall will work just fine. You are making memories here, dad. Warning: this is for your little kids. Do this outside the mall with pre-teens and you might die from the dirty looks they will give you.

4. Tell your kid a story. No books allowed.
Yep, put down that storybook and tell your kids some stories. Look your kid in the eye and tell them stories in your own way. You will bond with them and help them with their future literacy at the same time.

5. Do some full-body finger painting.
No little child can resist finger paint. On a warm day, grab some big pieces of paper, put out the cheap finger paints and go at the art-thing with your toddler. We found a roll of cheap paper at the teaching-supply shop and watched our kid paint up her body and roll about on the paper. Now we had huge art and great memories.

6. Wash your car.
Frankly, you could wash anything with rags and suds and your toddler or preschooler would be happy. Get out buckets, sponges, plenty of dish-soap and your grubby clothes and wash your car. Or a fence. Or your front door. Or your dog. Wet-laughing will ensue.

7. Make cookies.
In the old days, you had to know how to make cookie dough before you could bake cookies. If you know how to do make dough, that is all the better. Short of making dough, you can buy pre-made buckets of cookie dough at nearly any grocery store. Buy the dough and a few inexpensive candies or sprinkles and you have baking fun. When you are waiting out the baking times, do number 4 above.

There are many more ways to spend some inexpensive time with your kid. Your time shared with a child is more important than the money you spend in that time. Dive in now as they will be giant tweens before you know it. Then, you will need a new list.

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The author, Sean Buvala, has four children ranging in age from preteen to adult. He especially likes number four in this list (storytelling) as he is the author of the fatherhood training book, “DaddyTeller: How to be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time.” You can get lots of free training videos and order the book at http://www.daddyteller.com. Or, follow his latest articles and vids from your perch at Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/daddyteller

New Dad: 9 Ways to Bond with Your Baby

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Fathers – Finding Ways to Bond With Your Baby
By Sean Buvala

So, new dad, you want to know how you can bond with your new baby? That is great and it is the first step in your new life with your infant. Closeness and tenderness with your child is rewarding for your baby and you will discover how much being a caregiver does for you. Slow down, relax and enjoy the new son or daughter. Here are nine ways for dad to bond with the baby.

1. Take over some feedings.
Do not let this powerful moment of bonding go by you. In infants, the focal-point of their eyes is about the distance from an adult’s chest to their face. Amazing how nature worked that out. Dads- grab the bottle (formula or breast milk) for these moments. When solid food comes along, grab the spoon and go at the feeding. Wear an old shirt if you are worried about the mess.

2. Be a part of baby care.
Diaper changing makes some men cringe. Do not panic: it’s only poop and it washes off. If you have a messy baby to clean up, strip down yourself and jump into the shower or bath with them. All that skin time is good for you and the baby.

3. Take your baby on solo errands.
Pack up the baby-bag, strap the kid into the car seat and go about your business to the store, the post office, the bank or wherever your daily tasks may be. Make “where are we going next” the adventure for even the youngest child. Remember- never leave your baby unattended in the car- even for a minute.

4. Learn about child development.
You might be a dad that knows it all about raising kids. More than likely, you will benefit when you take some of that Internet-surfing time to check out the huge number of sites about parenting, fathering and raising kids. Watch videos and read articles.

5. Have some physical play with your baby.
You are the ultimate monkey bars to the toddler child. Get on the floor and let the rambunctious activity start. Even your little baby makes a good and giggling resistance weight for arm-curls, squats and bench-pressing.

6. Strap the kid onto your body.
A backpack on your back that lets your child see over your head or a front-facing baby holder gives your baby a much-needed new view on the world. Not only are you the child’s personal monkey-bars, but while wearing your baby, you are also a ladder with legs as your child sees the world from a new height.

7. Sing a song and tell stories with your baby.
No one is going to judge you for being silly or not singing well. Your baby develops language skills by hearing and using language. Make up stories as you go along, you do not need a storybook. Create songs or sing the best-of-the-90’s from memory. You will be building your child’s future literacy success, too.

8. Take pictures.
Tons of digital pictures are a gift you are making to your future self. Take loads of pictures and save them on a good hard drive. Go through those pictures and print out some of the best. Keep them on your desk at work or wherever you spend your working time. Switch out your photos on a regular basis.

9. Relax around your baby.
While you do not want to take dangerous risks with your baby, you will find that you are going to be more competent than you might at first think. You are different from the child’s mother; you will parent in your own unique way. Don’t strive for being perfect. Rather make it a point to be present and involved with your child.

Most dads have some initial nervousness with their new baby. Why not make it a point to use some of these ideas with your baby soon?

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The author, Sean Buvala, has four children ranging in age from preteen to adult. As well as presenting workshops and classes nationally since 1986, he is the author of “DaddyTeller: How to be a Hero to Your kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time.” Learn more about Sean’s fatherhood programs at http://www.fatherhoodprograms.net or follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/daddyteller

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Free Video #4: Use Scary Stories with Your Children?

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What is the father role in bedtime kids stories? Do we tell scary stories? Well, maybe not at bedtime. But at other times, a story about a scary event might be perfect. There is a difference between talking about a tough subject and trying to frighten kids. Sean talks about this in our very brief video below.


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3 Quick Ways for Dad to Communicate Better with His Child

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The world needs fathers. Study after study confirms the important role of the father in a family. Let’s improve your father-children relationship. Here are three quick and easy ways for Dads to relate better to their children.

1. Put down the distractions.
If you want to communicate better with your young kids, then learn to pay attention. Listening to a child while you channel surf, web surf or refrigerator surf is not really listening. Put down the remote or the mouse or close the ‘fridge door. Pay attention to what your child is saying. By the way, this rule changes a bit when your kids, especially your sons, are older. A great way to get your teens to talk is do a shared activity together. You’ll notice that I used the word “shared” in that sentence, right?

2. Look your child in the eye.
All the media your child is exposed to shares one thing in common: all of it has your child’s eyes and ears glued upon it. When you talk to your child, do you have their eye-contact? One of the greatest gifts we give to our children is looking them in the eye. Let them see you seeing them. Put down the storybook and tell them a story. Involve them in the tale. Advertisers are not hesitant to look your kids in the eye. You should do no less.

3. Make your child’s needs the priority.
As more and more dads, thankfully, become much more active in parenting, I read more about fathers who do not like kiddie things. I have read several posts, for example, about how some stay-at-home dads don’t like kid’s music and wish to substitute rock artists for kids musicians.

Although some of these daddy-blogger posts are written tongue-in-cheek, there is an underlying issue: kid things are not designed for dads. They are designed for kids. Don’t be in a hurry to bypass the usefulness of all the kiddie toys and noise that is out there.

The “Wheels On The Bus” song is driving you crazy? Let it make you crazy and let your kids listen to it a hundred times a day if they want. Raising four kids in our house, I can assure you that this phase doesn’t last long. Very soon, you’ll be dealing with the wheels on the car which is under your teen’s control as it is driven from your home.

The repetition of songs and stories is important for your child’s development and even future skills for learning and school. Be focused on what your kids need, not what you want.

In reality, all three of these ideas are really expressing the same need: Dads, give your kids the gift of your attention. You don’t need to be father of the year. You need to be the best daddy you can to your kids.

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Sean Buvala, father of four and a professional storyteller, is the author of the book “DaddyTeller™: Be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time.” Get your copy by visiting http://www.daddyteller.com.

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