I’ve been writing a lot about breastfeeding and about mothers and babies, but Daddies are equally helpful when taking care of the children, regardless their very different approach.
As mothers, we do our best caring of our little ones, sometimes we might become a bit like mumzillas, hoarding their attention so we do our way (thinking our ways and techniques are best, but it might not the only right approach), but some days for a reason or another we have to loosen the leash of child caring and relegate our partners, who can equally do a great job (if they want to that is).
Here’s some tips I’ve written (with help of my husband) about what they can do while on Daddy care day.
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It’s sunny, have a walk out!
If the weather is good of course, Daddy can walk baby around the park and shops, as they love the movement and seeing different things and people.
Staying at home all the time not only will remind your little one about mummy (and making them think she’s not around anymore, so they’ll start missing her), but chances are your child will become very bored playing with the same toys, and then grumpy.
Make sure you pack the essentials and some extras like:
- sun cream of SPF 35+
- a hat for baby (and maybe for daddy too?)
- an extra bib
- dry wipes or towelettes
- baby’s drink (a full bottle just in case she becomes very thirsty)
- some snacks for both
- Rain/wind cover for pram (in Ireland I’ve learned that the weather can change dramatically) just in case.
- Mobile Phone. Some Dads don’t bring their phones with them but it’s important when going with baby in case you need to make an emergency call.
- Some money (yes, some people go out without money because they were just going for a walk…)
Soft Play Centres
Sometimes we get very bad weather, and if it’s not extremely bad we can still go out, Daddy can drive or walk short distances to an Indoor Play Soft Area, which is a place where there’s lots of physical activities similar to a playground, but the whole place (or most of it) is padded for the safety of the child.
There’re slides, mats with games on it, tunnels, fun corridors with bouncy toys, mirrors, etc. And although there’s staff supervising the area do not leave your child unattended in it. Normally there’s a Bar service on site with chairs and tables so parents can have something to drink and eat while keeping an eye on their children.
There’s usually a small area for under three’s which is enclosed and only babies with their carers can go in it, although some older siblings join to play with their baby brother or sister. If you bring older children in the infants and toddlers area please make them aware that there’re younger children and they need to be careful and gentle not only with their siblings but with the other babies.
A word of advice is some areas of some Soft Play Centres are a bit hidden/not visible, make sure you can see your child/children at all times, as sometimes it gets a bit busy on school holidays or bank holidays. Many times I’ve seen some children crashing into one another, on the floor crying, and their parents failing to see them because they were seating and chatting away on a corner where they couldn’t see them at all. Also, please let them know that although they get excited to not to push, scream, or get too rowdy, as there’re other children there and want to have fun too.
Bonding while learning
I’ve grown up with great memories of my parents and aunties taking me to trips to a museum. If you have easy access to one go for it!
Daddy can teach lots of things to younger ones in museums, for instance my Dad loves science so he would bring us to the Science Museum CosmoCaixa in Barcelona (city where I grew up), it still runs today and pretty much visited as it’s a highly recommended on the Tripadvisor website.
In London there’re many museums and some are as big that you would need two or three days to see all what it offers. The National History Museum for instance is amazing, it’s also very big and full of curiosities and things to see and learn. I’ve been there twice with my husband but we haven’t been there with our baby so it’s something that’s gonna happen sooner rather than later.
Two years ago I went to Edinburgh for the summer, and I fell in love with the City and its surrounding scenery and towns. The Castle is amazing and you can visit inside its buildings and rooms, learning the history of Scotland from the very beginning to what is today. We stayed in Pebbles which is a very beautiful town not so far from Edinburgh, I recommend it if you want to stay somewhere not too far from the capital city but want a more quiet area to spend some time in nature with your family, but still be accessible to many shops and amenities around.
If you happen to be in Dublin, Ireland, there’s an enchanting place in the south where you can go and spend the day with family. Powerscourt Gardens are in Enniskerry, County Wicklow, but you can get a bus from Dublin City Centre (bus 44 or 185). It’s a big Estate with amazing gardens with a small lake, a pagoda, a tower, there’s even a waterfall (but it’s not within the garden area, you’ll have to walk quite a while to get there from the gardens) and they have an amazing Avoca Terrace Cafe. Powerscourt also runs year-round events like treasure hunts, guided walks, gardening workshops, bug hunts & theater evenings. So plenty to do for Daddy and children!
Sticky and colourful fingers
We all know how arts and crafts are good to promote creativity, instill curiosity and encourage problem solving for children. It’s also a good way to socialise, to see other peoples creations and motivate to do more, to create something better.
I believe it’s a good way also for Daddies to have fun with their children, as in Arts and Crafts there’s no wrong or right and everything you want to do goes, it’s a good opportunity for grown-ups to be silly and childish together with their children. Loosening up a bit now and then is beneficial for the soul, it eases stress and worries, leaving more room for clarity and inner peace.
Of course not all activities are good for all ages, as children as little as one year old won’t be capable to, let say, build a fort with a card box (but if Daddy is happy to do that, willing to do most of the job then go ahead), so here I recommend some Arts and crafts you can do based on age of the child:
- Younger than 1 year old
Splatting paint with hands and feet on a big white sheet of paper or an old bed sheet.
On a Plasticine block poking straw, colourful sticks or twigs, etc (any hard material will do)
- 1-2 year old
On a big sheet of paper painting and sticking different textures on it like cotton for clouds, dry leaves for grass, thin tree bark for the trees, colourful paper tissues for flowers and butterflies, etc
Musical instruments with empty bottles filled (a quarter of the bottle) with different materials to recreate different noises like stones, buttons, dry pasta, sand, etc
- 2-4 year old
Build a house or fort with a big box, make a flag with paper and a stick, paint the box to recreate walls, cut a door that can open and shut, etc..
Or if you don’t have a big box use bed sheets, move around chairs and use imagination to create one hideaway under the table or behind the couch etc…
Make a beautiful card for Mummy telling her how much you love her (put it in a box with a couple of her favourite treats in it) and hide it, then make a treasure map that will lead to it, and give it to her when she gets back home.
The possibilities are endless
As the title says, it’s all up to you how much you want to do with your child, how confident you are doing one thing or another, after all he/she is your child, and you as parents know best what works for you and your family. Just one thing: what matters most is that you are having fun together in a safe and happy manner.
Joy and light,