A Dad usually plays well with their baby or child, but if they are a sole parent or shared parent then they need to work out ways that they can play and spend quality time with their child as well as getting some of the essential jobs done and keeping fit and well them self. Below are some ideas that may help.
1. Have your baby laying on your chest as you read or sing aloud to them. They will enjoy hearing the rhythmical sound of your voice, even if you sing off key or you are reading a car, sport or fishing magazine! They won’t care it is the sound and vibration of your voice that they enjoy in the early months.
2. Play with your baby or toddler. Go for a walk outside with them in a sling or a pram. If your baby is under 3 months old a pram that has your baby facing you is best.
3. Socialisation: be proactive in organising social occasions with other parents, or attending parenting groups. It’s a great way of ‘normalising’ your parenting experience and meeting others with whom you can share your experiences, difficulties and solutions.
4. Have a fun or relaxing bath or shower with them if you feel this is appropriate for you both.
5. Establish suitable routines (such as bath time, bedtime, feeding). Children thrive on the security of knowing what is happening next and routines help to make the experience of parenthood less chaotic and unpredictable.
6. Agree on guidelines and boundaries for child discipline with your partner if you are sharing access and make sure you enforce what you agree on. Mixed disciplines can be very unsettling for young children.
7. Praise your child whenever possible. Even as a tiny baby they will be soothed by the sounds of your encouragement. You can always find something to give them positive reinforcement for, even on the worst of days. Some days you just have to look harder or force a smile!
8. Learn how to cook simple nutritious food. If you have a toddler have them help you prepare food to eat. Perhaps washing the vegetables or mixing ingredients in a bowl.
9. Encourage your toddler to help you in the garden or play with pegs while you hang the washing on the line. Sit them in an empty washing basket next to you with a few colourful or textured objects to play with.