‘Dadication’ tips for dads to help kids feel closer to them

Dads, have you told your kids today that you love them? Parenting in a pandemic can be challenging, but a campaign now underway has tips to help encourage “Dadication” from fathers, even when it’s difficult.

“We’re just asking them to make that ‘Dadication’ to their child: to stay involved, to stay inspired,” said Kenneth Braswell, CEO of Fathers Incorporated.

“My No. 1 advice would be to slow down, savor the moment,” Braswell said. “Don’t miss a minute because you might miss a moment.”

Kenneth Braswell, CEO of Fathers Incorporated. (Courtesy of Kenneth Braswell)

Here are some more tips from Braswell:

Be flexible. Don’t take things too seriously. “Enjoy the intimate moments with your children,” he said.

Stay connected with other fathers. “Create an accountability circle so that you can be able to talk to other dads about what they’re struggling with, because what you may be struggling with, others are also struggling with,” Braswell said.

Reintroduce yourself to members of your family. We take it for granted that our loved ones know who we are. But these days, the pandemic has a lot of people working from home, and “work dad” may be a side of you that your children and spouse have never met, Braswell said.

Be comfortable with your child’s at-home school experience, too. “They don’t know ‘work dad,’ but you don’t know ‘school children,’” he added.

“Make sure that you are flexible enough with your children to be able to help them navigate this time of COVID, and I guarantee that, on the other side of this, your family relationships will strengthen and you will have extreme joy in the fatherhood space that you’re in,” Braswell said.

Remember, you’re not doing this alone. Juggling work and home during the COVID-19 pandemic is something even famous fathers are dealing with.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a father of three, recently tweeted about the experience:

Dads can find suggested activities to do with kids by age groups, a DadTalk blog, more advice and even some dad jokes on the Fatherhood.gov website.

Children who feel close to their fathers are two times more likely to go to college, 80% less likely to end up in jail and 50% less likely to experience depression, according to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse’s “#Dadication” campaign.

The campaign was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families and the Ad Council to encourage fathers to play active roles in their children’s lives.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been with working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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