In the last couple of years, I have discovered the value of listening to podcasts while on the treadmill, on a walk or on a long drive. I used to listen to music, but I have found that learning while exercising is a good strategy and a great way to "multitask." And when time is so limited, dads need to find ways to do more without sacrificing the important things!
Podcasts are a great way to learn while listening, and these ten podcasts written and produced by and for dads will help any dad become better.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to work closely and mentor a newly blended family. They started in a big hole emotionally, and it took time and focus to effectively build relationships and create a high performing family.
Stepfathering can be a daunting role for any dad. Learn what experienced stepfathers and other experts suggest for making a successful stepfather.
A lesson I learned many years ago from my dad has stuck with me. As a teenager, I helped my dad rebuild the engine to an old Volkswagen Beetle and in the process learned about how important it is to maintain an engine to keep it running smoothly. Oil changes, checking tire pressure, and using good fuel are all important components to making a car run smoothly and last a long time. Ignoring these simple things can cost a lot in the long run.
Our bodies operate on similar principles. Easy, daily habits can help our bodies run more efficiently, last longer and be more productive. These ten basic approaches to keeping our bodies running well are those easy concepts that we as dads and men need to embrace to stay on top of our game and to be around a long time to enjoy our families.
More on staying healthy:
- Top Ten Ways for Fathers to Relieve Stress
- Weight Loss by the Numbers for Fathers
- Quick Exercises for Busy Dads
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When parents are united in their approach to parenting, they are an unstoppable force. This is never truer than when thinking about the parents's strategies for disciplining children.
I saw an instance last week where the parents disagreed in how to discipline a child in a public setting, and the child took advantage of the disagreement to continue to behave inappropriately. That experience caused me to think about what parents should do to avoid this kind of problem and to get on the same page with each other on the approach to effective discipline.
Read more about the whys and hows of being united as Mom and Dad on child discipline and the best things you can do to get your act together.
More on child discipline:
- How to Teach Your Children Self-Discipline
- Ten Ideas for Helping Your Kids Learn Not to Fight
- Behavior Contracts
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A radio station in Salt Lake City, KSL, has a daily talk show program called The Browsers. Every day for two hours, hosts Jay McFarland and Amy Iverson talk about the latest and greatest on the Internet. In March, these two radio personalities hosted a town hall meeting at a local middle school for an hour and talked about how parents can monitor and control their children's Internet access and behavior. As someone who reads a lot and writes often about Internet safety, I thought it was among the very best one-hour programs of its kind. Tons of helpful advice, references to apps, how-to's on applying settings already built into operating systems, etc.
They have recorded a podcast of the town hall meeting and posted it on SoundCloud that is worth spending an hour listening to if you are a parent with children accessing the Internet. Just save it to your mobile device and listen to it on the way to work or while exercising. You will learn not only the tips and tricks you need, but also gain some courage to confront the issues head on at home.
More on Internet safety at home:
- Good rules for Internet safety in your family
- How to filter Internet content
- What dads need to know about sexting
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I live in a community which has been ranked for many years as the #1 volunteering community in the United States. On average, residents of our town give more hours of community service per capita than any other community. Yes, the volunteer spirit is alive and well in our community.
We have tried to teach our children the value of volunteering, largely because of what it does to them, along with the way we give back to our community. We have helped build garden boxes, catalog cemetery headstone data for digitizing, promoted walking around a car before backing to look for children, made hygiene kits for disaster-struck areas and weeded and maintained an elderly neighbor's flower beds. And I think that the effort has helped our children learn to be much more sensitive to others.
Volunteering in the community with your family can be very rewarding and can help your children learn charity and compassion. Find out how to volunteer with your family and how to get them excited about volunteering.
More on how we can teach values to our children:
- Teaching Children to be Grateful
- Helping Children Learn to Work
- Why and How to Encourage Your Kids' Creativity
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There were quite a few thoughts expressed this last week about New York Mets baseball player Daniel Murphy who missed the season opener to be with his wife as she delivered their first child. Many comments were in support of Daniel suggesting that he had his priorities straight. But others were not so forgiving. Consider sportscaster Mike Francesa:
"You're a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help."
Or this one from commentator and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason:
"Quite frankly, I would have said C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day, I'm sorry."
Wow! I fully understand the need to committed to one's job and career, but when your professional association has negotiated paternity leave with your employer and your wife is due to deliver a baby, I think you don't miss the critical personal experience of being present at the birth of your baby.
Fortunately, Boomer later apologized for his comments. I thought about my friend Josh Levs who battled for paternity leave from his employer, and couldn't help but feel some pride for Daniel Murphy making the best choice for him personally and for his wife and family.
More on work-life balance:
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I recently read about an amazing fatherhood training program in San Diego. The program is called Father2Child, and has helped 120 dads there learn about successful fatherhood and graduate from the program. Father2Child uses the 24/7 Dad curriculum from our friends at the National Fatherhood Initiative and is helping fathers learn what it means to be a dad, how to better interact with kids and how to work with their kids' moms in productive ways.
The program is sponsored by Mental Health America of San Diego and is operated by Daphyne Watson, Andre Jones and Aaron Wooten. They perceived a need in their community to work with fathers to build family capacity. The process has been really impactful and the results outstanding.
Learn more about the program, and watch a video about Father2Child and what a difference it has made at the NFI website. If you see a need in your community for a similar program, contact the National Fatherhood Initiative for more information on creating fatherhood programs in your own city.
More great fatherhood organizations:
Image courtesy of the National Fatherhood Initiative
Who doesn't love April Fools' Day? I have fond memories of the times my children surprised me with an April Fools' prank. My favorite was putting a rubber band around the spray nozzle on the kitchen sink so when I turned on the faucet for a glass of water, I got a full spray to the belly. Here is a list of 10 great ideas for April Fools' pranks for parents to play on their kids. Take one and get prepared for April 1. Turnabout is fair play!
More on April Fools Day from About.com:
- April Fools' pranks in the workplace
- Origin and history of April Fools' Day
- Google's famous April Fools' Day pranks
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Sibling rivalry is a big challenge for most families. Kids act as if acceptance in a family is a zero-sum game and they typically fight for position in the family's pecking order. I spent some time with a father recently who was looking for ideas to help stop the bickering, hair pulling and jealousy that had invaded his home and his peace.
Sibling rivalry is an age-old problem that requires fresh solutions for each generation. Learn how to overcome sibling rivalry and help your kids learn not to fight.
More on Effective Discipline at Home:
- Eating Out with the Kids
- To Spank or Not to Spank
- Child Behavior 101 - Setting Limits for Your Children
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