Monday, June 28, 2010

Turn Off The TV, and Get Outside!

It is officially Summer Time! However, sometimes it is easier to be inside than outside.

There are a lot more enticements for your children to stay inside. Like the Xbox 360, 500 Channel Digital TV, computer games, Internet, and so on.

Here are some things you can do to help get your children outside.

First, be a barrier to the television. According to, we spend, on average, 1023 hours watching television in a year. Enforce a rule where you can only watch TV and play video games for two hours every day. That’s it. Notice the “and”, that’s two hours for both. Maybe then your children will only watch the shows they really want, and play their favourite video games and, therefore, spend less time in front of the TV.

Second, get them to become active. Go outside and play. Enroll your kids in a sports team. Help them get their friends together and play ball, of any kind. Go bike riding. Just do something active outside. Help them make it a weekly event.

Third, get them to read a book. They now have ample time on their hands. Help them find a book they like, and wanted to read but couldn’t during the school year, from the library. Maybe read the Twilight series and see what the hype is all about. Most of all, help keep those brain cells growing.

Fourth, make sure that you have one night a week to spend with as family. Dad, take the lead and arrange this. Your wife will be grateful. Use any night. Just do something you have never done before as a family. Go to a museum. Go bowling or mini golfing. Maybe make a cake together. Go swimming. Play that board game that you got for Christmas and haven’t played since Boxing Day. Do something weekly with your family.

Most of all, enjoy the summer weather, together. Yes, some will have to work, but it can still be done. Let us get out and be active, turn off that TV, read a book, and play a sport, and maybe, just maybe, you will have discovered something new this summer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

World Cup Soccer Family Activities

It’s World Cup Soccer! It is well under way. I received this email chain letter from my father-in-law the other day. As humorous as it is, it is also a statement of how much this tournament singles the father out from the rest of the family.

However, World Cup Soccer can be used as a family learning and bonding experience. It is a great opportunity to learn about the world we live in.

Here are some things that you can do with your children, besides just watching the game:

  • Name the Country. Flag recognition is usually easy in North America; however, the rest of the world can be difficult. You can make little flag cut outs, and try to match the country name to the flag.
  • Where on the Globe. Go pull out the globe or atlas that is collecting dust. When a game is being played, or about to be played, try to find where they are on the map.
  • Learn to say “Hello”. There are 32 countries playing, not all of them speak English. Using the Internet, you can learn to say “Hello” in the competing countries language.
  • Family History. Go through your family ancestry with your children, and find out which country, or countries are in your roots, that are playing.
  • Make a Craft. Get out the scrap paper, scissors and other stationary items and make a soccer craft. Maybe it is a collage of their favorite team. Maybe they’ll construct their own flag.
  • Soccer Snacks. Work together to make a soccer shaped cake, or cookies shaped as countries.
  • World foods. Have a complete meal as if you were eating in Chile, or South Africa, or South Korea.

The ideas are endless. These are just some ideas to get you started. This will help make World Cup Soccer a Family event, not just a Daddy event.

What are some things you are doing together as a family?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Speak Dad’s Love Language in Father’s Day Gift Giving

Father’s day is coming up this weekend. If you are a last minute shopper, don’t fall for the advertisements.

Father’s day, like most holidays, has become tremendously commercialized. “Get dad Avatar,” the latest adds go. Or get him a new BBQ, the Kindle, or iPad. Those are great gifts, for a birthday, but not for Father’s Day. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate fatherhood and to show appreciation.

As part of appreciating, it would be good to line up the gift with Dad’s love language.

Words of Affirmation. If this is his dominant love language, Dad would appreciate something like a letter from the children. A letter indicating why you love dad and what he has done for you. He may also just love to hear “I love you” from everyone.

Quality Time. Dad would prefer to spend time together with the family. Whether this is an all together activity, or separate time with each individual will vary by dad. This is to be undivided attention. No iPods, books, or other distractions.

Receiving Gifts. This doesn’t mean that Dad wants Avatar as a gift for Father’s Day. It is the thought behind the gift, not the price tag. So if you want to get Dad a movie, get him something he can watch with the kids. But it can also be a creative gift, like crafts from the kids. Again, just to emphasize, this is not as much about what the gift is as it is about the effort, thought and love put into it.

Physical Touch. A hug from all the family members could do wonders for Dad. If you go for a walk, hold hands. Throughout the day, touch Dad on the arm, and look him in the eye and tell him you love him.

Acts of Service. Those little ‘coupons’ with ‘bed made daily for a week’, or ‘one free car wash’ would be right up dad’s alley. Of course, those coupons need to be followed through. Maybe there is a spot in the home that dad just hasn’t organized, do that for him. Something else to do is to not have Dad do anything for the day. You can drive, cook, clean, and so on to give Dad a break.

If you speak Dad’s love language this Father’s Day, he will really feel appreciated and understood.

You can go to Gary Chapman’s website and take the test to determine your love language, and to learn more about love languages.

What are you giving your dad for father’s day??

Monday, June 7, 2010

Are You Ready To Be A Father?

Photo From:

“How wonderful a thing is a child. How beautiful is a newborn babe. There is no greater miracle than the creation of life” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Are People Asking about Us?,” Ensign, Nov. 1998)

So you are going to be a father. Are you ready?

There are some indicators that you should be aware of. First off, let’s dispel the common misconception that marital satisfaction declines heavily after a child. On average a decline does happen, but the decline is usually small. There is also the potential for marital satisfaction to remain the same or increase.

Studies have shown that there are certain indicators that will help a marriage thrive during the transition to parenthood. Belsky and Kelly (1994) called them the six transition domains:

  • Self – the couple’s ability to merge their individual selves into a large ‘Us’
  • Gender Ideology – the meeting of the couples expected and predetermined gender roles
  • Emotionality – whether the couple is vulnerable to stress
  • Expectations – is the baby affecting their marriage in the way the couple expected?
  • Communication – can the couple keep talking like they did before the baby
  • Conflict Management – can the couple handle stress in a healthy way

Belsky and Kelly also said that the feelings of love towards a spouse played a role as well in the transition to parenthood.

The one typical cause of dispute after the arrival of a child is the division of household labor. Usually men will do what they know how to do best, and that is work more paid hours to provide for the family. Women, typically are satisfied when the man meets her expectations. However, if the man is contributing less than desired, she will generally be dissatisfied and may feel that the division is unfair. So, if you and your wife are disputing over who should do the dishes, why don’t you help her out and do the dishes, no matter how hard your day at work was. In reality, you should be willing to talk about your expectations together. Taking the time to talk about such conflicts, understand one another, and adjust your various workloads can work wonders.

Men sometimes feel jealous that they do not form that same kind of “instant-bond” that women get when the baby arrives. Fathers, understand that your wife has been carrying around that baby for nine months, feeling it grow, stretch, and kick against her. She has been getting attached to the baby for those nine months. The moment that baby is born, your pregnancy begins. You now get to hold, carry, touch and nurture your child so that you can start forming that bond.

Most of all, know that you are not alone in your adventure into fatherhood. There are plenty of resources, such as fathering, parenting, or prenatal classes. It can help to sign up for a class to to better prepare yourself. There are also other people who have been where you are who can help you. You just need to ask.

What are some things that you wish you had known before having a baby? What are some things you wish your spouse had known before having a baby?