An initiative of the Dekko Foundation

Parenting Styles

Customized resources for your season of life

Do-er Dad

“I can fix almost anything you can break. I can cook a mean chili. I’ll clean if I have to. And I’ll even go to the drug-store for…you know. I want to help teach the kids, but I’m not quite sure what to do. I sure heck don’t want to screw up!”


If your own dad did things with you when you were growing up, you probably have lots of ideas for teaching your kids. If not, check out our dad-tested ideas.

What about those days when you have serious paperwork to get done? Set up a work station for your daughter next to you on the desk. Show her that you’re writing numbers as you balance the checkbook. She’ll write numbers with you for a while. When she’s bored you can pull out the paper punch, ruler, calculator and scotch tape and let her imagination do the rest.

If you love to work in the garage, get some safe, child-sized tools and let your son go at it. Children love to pound nails into a piece of wood. Give him some soft wood, screws, and a screwdriver, and he’ll work by your side for hours.

Like sports on TV? (It was just a guess.) A dad we know taught his son numbers by pointing out the car numbers during NASCAR races. (NFL, NBA, college football—you get the picture.)

Fathers and mothers interact with children differently, each having a unique and important role in a child’s life. If a father is not part of a child’s life, other men, such as a grandfather, uncle, or other close family friend can help fill the void. Research shows that children with active fathers, or other strong male role models, tend to develop more self-confidence and be better problem solvers.

Play, touch, and talk with your baby or young child as much as possible. Be a playmate, diaper changer, bather, reader, and soother.

Have consistent one-on-one time with your child. Running errands to the hardware store, the gas station, or to get the tires rotated is a wonderful learning experience for your child.

Take on chores that your child may typically see the mother doing such as grocery shopping, vacuuming, dusting, or doing the laundry. Include your child while doing these activities and send the message that families share responsibilities.

Include your child in your household chores, hobbies or sporting activities. Children of all ages learn from helping you fix things, woodworking, gardening, fishing, or just hanging out with Dad.

Ask your child “What do you want to do together this afternoon?” The answer might surprise and delight you. It will definitely build a bond between you and your child.


 At Before5, we are passionate about helping you understand how your child grows and develops – especially in the first five years, which is when the really important learning happens.

An initiative of the Dekko Foundation

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