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10 Tips for Dads, as Derived from a Loving Father of 6

One of the most beautiful things in the world is a dad who loves and invests in his children. Everyone knows that moms typically carry the lion’s share of responsibility for the day-to-day minutia of raising kids from infanthood up. When a man gets in there and fully participates in child-rearing, well, there’s just nothing better in the world. The following is derived from the advice of father of six Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, as published on The Art of Manliness website.


Notes from The Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful daddy. Because of that, I have a deep appreciation for attentive fathers. Babauta is one of those dads, and below I share some of his best tips in a condensed version.


  1. The number one “dad operating philosophy” is love. Instead of yelling at your children when you are frustrated and when it’s the last thing they expect, show them love.
  2. Forget about segregating responsibilities into “mom duties” and “dad duties.”  Share every part of the adventure of raising children. This includes helping with newborns and growing infants, from dirty diapers to middle-of-the-night feedings.
  3. Hang in there, when you have an infant. The constant demands tend to wear parents down, to the point they feel like zombies. After the first two years or so, it gets easier.
  4. Make it a habit to be patient with your children. When you feel like you are losing your patience, pause and, if need be, take a walk. There will be tremendous benefits, over the long run, when you are consistently patient with your kids.
  5. Give your children plenty of opportunities to make their own decisions, such as what to eat for breakfast, from healthy options you provide. By allowing them to exercise choice, they feel more capable and grow up more confident.
  6. Keep your sense of humor in those chaotic situations that go along with having children. Don’t expect your home to escape the accidents and mischievousness of kids’ capers. The alternative to laughing things off is to blow your top, and that’s no good for anybody.
  7. The years fly by, and each day of raising children is one to be cherished. Make a daily effort to be a loving parent who is truly present in your children’s lives. Spend quality time with them consistently.
  8. Reading to your children from the time they are infants up is a daddy activity that every father should engage in on a routine basis, even if you don’t like reading. The moments are precious, and they inspire a lifetime of learning.
  9. Let your children play, use their imagination, and just have fun. Give them plenty of opportunities for free play. This promotes intellectual growth more than the absence of such freedom.
  10. Be a model of the good behavior you want your kids to learn. Children are always watching, and they pick up on appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. An occasional beer is okay, for example, but excessive drinking can negatively and deeply impact your child.

There you have it. Some top tips on being a great dad. Mr. Babauta sure seems to know what he’s talking about. He probably has kids that have grown or will grow into amazing adults. That can be your legacy, as well.

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