The Dad's Ultimate Cheat Sheet: 18 Essential Fatherhood Tips
Being a father can be an amazing experience, full of joys, and challenges. Of course, there are some aspects that may not be so pleasant, but that's all part of the journey of parenting. Every father has fears and doubts, but remember, we're all just winging it, and that's okay.

With time and experience, you'll learn what works and what doesn't, and most importantly, you'll learn to show your children love and guide them in the best way you know how. These tips are here to help, to serve as a guide, a cheat sheet, and a reminder that you're doing an amazing job.

Cherish your time with them
The beauty of parenthood is that time flies by and before you know it, your children will be all grown up and leaving the nest. While it may seem like there's never enough time, it's important to cherish every moment and make the most of the time you have with them. Make sure to spend quality, loving time with them and try to be fully present during those moments. It's a precious and fleeting time, so soak it all in and enjoy the journey.

It gets easier
Bringing a new baby into the world can be an exciting and challenging time, especially during the first couple of months. Though the baby may be up all night, it's only temporary and before you know it, they'll have a regular sleeping pattern. The first couple of years may be demanding, but as they grow and hit middle school, they become more independent and the demands ease up. Just remember, it gets easier with time, hang in there!

Don’t look at anything as “Mum” duties
Parenting is a team effort and there's no need to stick to traditional gender roles. Dads, don't be afraid to take on "Mum" duties and get involved in everything from changing diapers to feeding. Collaborate with your partner and share the load. Remember, love is the most important thing, it's what holds everything together. Show your children love in every moment, whether you're upset or they are, when they least expect it and you'll be on the right path to a successful parenting journey.

Kids like making decisions
It's important to guide your child to make their own decisions, rather than just following orders. This will help them grow into confident, capable and happy individuals. Children, just like adults, enjoy freedom and the ability to make choices. As a parent, it's your job to provide them with options and boundaries, for example, giving them a choice between two healthy breakfast options rather than leaving it completely open-ended. By giving your child the freedom to make decisions, you're helping them to build important life skills and become a responsible adult.

A little patience goes a long way
Parenting can be challenging and it's normal to feel frustrated or lose your patience at times, however, it's important to remember that reacting in anger is not beneficial for your child. Instead, take a deep breath or a short walk when you feel yourself getting worked up. Practicing patience not only benefits your relationship with your child, but it will also benefit them in the long run. Remember, every little effort counts and it's ok to have moments of setback, the key is to keep trying.

Sense of humour required
Parenting can come with its fair share of challenges, but try to see the humour in the situation when your child does something unexpected like drawing on the walls, spilling something on the couch, or sneaking out with the car. While it's important to set boundaries and teach them what is not acceptable, try to find the funny side of things and laugh it off. It'll help you maintain your sanity and enjoy the journey of parenting.

Read to them, often
Reading to your children is a fantastic way to bond and prepare them for a lifetime of learning. It doesn't matter if you're an avid reader or not, reading to your children from an early age is crucial for their development. Not only does it establish good reading habits, but it also provides special time for you to spend together and create lasting memories. My own personal experience with reading to my children, has been incredibly rewarding.

Don’t be the absent dad
One of the most important things that dads can do is to be present and actively involved in their children's lives. Dedicate regular time each day and week to spend with them and make sure to prioritize it and make it sacred. When it comes to big moments in your child's life, like a football game or a school performance, make sure to be there and show your support, it means everything to them. By being present and engaged, you'll be building strong, lasting bonds with your children.

Let them play
Playing is an essential part of a child's development, so make sure to give your kids plenty of opportunities for free play. Let them use their imagination and have fun with it, without any constraints of structured or educational activities. Let them be kids and enjoy the benefits that come with unstructured play. It's a wonderful way for them to learn, grow and have fun all at the same time!

Spark their imagination
Unstructured playtime is a great way for children to develop their imagination, but as a parent, you can also play an important role in sparking their creativity. Get involved in their playtime, build forts together, dress up as characters, and let your imagination run wild. Whether you're pretending to be explorers or characters from a movie or book, the possibilities are endless and you'll have just as much fun as your kids. Encourage your child to use their imagination and have fun together.

Limit TV and video games
While it's great to have access to technology and entertainment, it's important to find a balance and not let it take over. Encourage your children to use their imagination by playing, reading, and getting outside to exercise. To help with this, consider setting a daily limit for "media time" - an hour a day is a good starting point, but you can adjust it to what works best for your family. This way, they can enjoy the best of both worlds, and have a well-rounded life.

Learn the “firm no”
Giving children freedom and encouraging free play is important, but it's also important to set boundaries as a parent. Setting limits and boundaries can help children develop healthy behaviour and prevent problems in the future. It's also important to teach them the importance of respecting limits and boundaries. While it's important to not always say "yes" to everything, it's also important to not give in every time they throw a tantrum or beg. Be firm but also be thoughtful in setting boundaries, it will benefit them in the long run.

Model good behaviour
As a parent, you are not just a teacher but also a role model for your child. Your actions speak louder than words, and your child is always watching and learning from you. Make sure to model the behaviour you want your child to learn, such as good manners, consideration, responsibility, hard work, positive attitude, and generosity. Avoid negative behaviours such as excessive drinking, smoking, drug use, anger, and laziness, as these can have a negative impact on your child's development. Remember, your child looks up to you, so make sure to lead by example!

Treat their mother with respect, always
As a father, it's essential to be a positive role model for your child. Abusive behaviour, whether physical or verbal, is never acceptable and can have a damaging impact on the child's emotional well-being. Even milder forms of disrespect towards your child's mother can also have negative consequences. It's important to treat your child's mother with respect and kindness at all times, as it will set a good example for your child, and help them grow up with a healthy emotional development.

Let them be themselves
As a parent, it's natural to want the best for your child and to guide them towards becoming the best version of themselves. However, it's important to remember that each child is unique and has their own personality. Instead of trying to mould them into who you want them to be, focus on instilling good behaviours and values while also giving them the freedom to be themselves. Embrace their quirks and individuality, and love them for who they truly are. Encourage them to explore and discover their own passions and talents, and support them in the journey to become the best version of themselves.

Teach them independence
Nurture your children's independence from a young age by teaching them how to do things for themselves. It may take some extra time and effort in the short term, but it's worth it for their self-confidence and for your own peace of mind in the long run. Encourage your children to take on responsibilities such as washing dishes, cleaning their room, and grooming themselves. By giving them age-appropriate tasks and gradually increasing their responsibilities, you'll be helping them develop important life skills while also lightening your own workload. Watching your child take care of themselves can be incredibly rewarding and empowering for both you and your child.

Stand together with Mum
Parenting is a partnership and it's crucial for both parents to be on the same page and support each other's decisions. Make sure to communicate and talk out any important decisions beforehand to avoid any confusion or disagreement. By standing united as a team, you'll be able to navigate the parenting journey with ease and confidence.

Being a father is an amazing and challenging experience that requires patience, love, and a sense of humour. The tips outlined in this blog post are here to help guide you on your journey and provide you with the tools you need to be the best dad you can be. Remember, we're all winging it, but with a little guidance, you can become an ultimate dad. Remember, you're doing an amazing job and you've got this!