By Ryan Crawley (dadspadblog) – There will never be a bigger role model in a child’s life than their father. Because of this, it’s a bit heartbreaking to live in a world where an absentee father can be considered the norm. Who better than to show your kid what being a good person means than a loving dad. And not just a father that talks the talk, but will walk the walk, too. Ben Franklin once said, “Well done is better than well said.” A father that will back up their words with action is worth their weight in gold.

What is important to the father will be important to his kids. If a child sees their father being caring and compassionate, there is a good chance that the kid will be like this as well. If the father is respectful to others and a good listener, down the road, even the most rambunctious child will adopt these traits as their own. A child is always watching their parents, and will duplicate their actions as they become older, good or bad.

One aspect where fathers can get a bit of a bad rap in is the area of education early on in a child’s life. The early years of a child’s life can be the most informative. The key is to introduce the child early and often to all content areas. The main skill to focus on as soon as possible is reading because this ability goes hand in hand with all subject areas. Follow these tips to show your child that it is extremely valuable to read not just for enjoyment, but to read for knowledge.

Library

From the smallest town to the biggest city, every place has a library to explore. Always remember what Matt Damon’s character said in the movie Goodwill Hunting. “You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.” He’s not joking. A public library can educate anyone better than a few textbooks in a new classroom every school year.

As a father, it is up to you to share the love of books with your child as early and often as possible. According to the Office for National Statistics, a little less than 30 percent of all men used a library at least once in the last year. As a comparison, about 45 percent of all women have used the library at least once in the last year. As fathers, our actions, or lack of action, can have consequences on our children.

Once every week, every family should take a trip to their local library. Instill in the children the importance of reading the written word. Show them everything the library has to offer. Walk them into the different sections, review how e-books or audio books work, look at the daily newspapers, and chat up the librarians by asking their thoughts on why a library is perhaps the best field trip a child can take. Your kid will remember this throughout the years, and the library will be a safe haven for them for the rest of their lives. Their memories of these trips will be priceless and passed down from generation to generation.

Set an Example

Your son or daughter will duplicate whatever they see you do. The key is to display all the good and hide all the questionable things that they will undoubtedly imitate. If they see their father smoke or drink, there is a great chance that they will do the same as they become older. Use this power that you have to set good examples for your child. Even if you have never been a voracious reader in the past, becoming one will ensure that your child will be one as well. And the number one indication of academic success later on in life in young children is not only their ability to read, but how much time is spent reading.

Limit Television

Parents that spend hours in front of the television everyday are showing their children that it has a sort of control over them. Be aware of this, and be wary. Raising a couch potato not only takes time away from their studies, but it prevents them from building relationships with others. Plus, in a society where almost 50 percent of the population of adults are overweight or clinically obese, limiting television exposure can help combat this problem. The number one thing that people do while watching television is overeat. Setting reading time for the entire family every night prevents a dull imagination and actually will benefit everyone’s health.

Bedtime Reading

Toddlers remember much more than we give them credit for. We incorrectly believe that since they are so little, they will not recall a lot of what we do early on in their infancy. One way to bring the magic of books to your child early on is to read to them for half an hour every night while they snuggle up in bed. Not only will it inspire their love of reading, but it is quality time that you will wish you had back as they become older. All of these activities will bring the joy of reading into their lives, but they are also meant to allow for many hours of family time that you just cannot put a price on.

 

Posted by Fathers Incorporated

Fathers Incorporated (FI) is a national, non-profit organization working to build stronger families and communities through the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood. Established in 2004, FI has a unique seat at the national table, working with leaders in the White House, Congress, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Family Law, and the Responsible Fatherhood Movement. FI works collaboratively with organizations around the country to identify and advocate for social and legislative changes that lead to healthy father involvement with children, regardless of the father’s marital or economic status, or geographic location. From employment and incarceration issues, to child support and domestic violence, FI addresses long-standing problems to achieve long-term results for children, their families, the communities, and nation in which they live.

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