Millennial dads came when the world wasn’t looking. Yes, at their current age range, most millennials have become parents to Generation Alpha kids. While mothers of any generation take naturally to child-rearing and bonding (we carried them in our wombs for nine months, after all,) dads, in general, do not have this inherent ability.
But to their credit, millennial dads are more open to taking active roles in parenting than their own fathers, the baby boomers. They are now parents to children belonging to Generation Alpha, the true digital natives, born into technology and thinking there could be no life without the internet, instant messaging, mobile devices, video games, and GPS. But for all that, they’re still human beings, in need of physical touch and emotional connection that devices cannot give.
Parent-child bonding is intrinsic in moms. But for millennial dads who grew up in the 1960s-era style of fathering, some guidance will come in handy. Here are some tips for you.
How to strengthen the bond between you and your child:
Do mindfulness meditation with your child.
Millennials are lucky in the sense that the ancient Eastern tradition of mindfulness meditation has reached the Western world and is a huge trend that has caught their attention. As a dad, try teaching this practice to your kid and do it together. No one’s ever old enough or young enough to start this healthy habit.
Related: Mindfulness and Meditation Books
A Benedictine school near where I live has 20-minute meditation sessions for their classes before starting the regular lessons. These kids are 6-10 years old; the meditation is not faith-based, and the effect shows in the pupils’ behaviors and attitudes.
Knowing this should encourage millennial dads to do the same at home. It will inculcate mindfulness early on in children and the shared activity will strengthen the bond between you and your child.
Get them involved in the routine tasks that you do.
If you want to strengthen your bond with your child, you don’t have to wait for road trips and vacations for that elusive and overrated quality time together. Involve your child when you wash the car or fix a leak. They can hold the hose or hand over small tools, making them feel like they’re helping you. Talk with them and share your own childhood experiences while doing these things. While it’s good training for them, it will also forge a priceless emotional connection between you two.
Use weekends for play time.
Instead of watching Netflix or playing video games all day, plan outdoor activities and indoor games that you can do with your child for the weekends. Play ball, bike around the neighborhood, or watch your team play. Dads are actually better at play with their children since they tend not to be too fussy and cautionary. Allowing your kid to fall off a bike or get scratches prepares them for the obstacles and failures they will inevitably encounter in adult life.
Playing indoor board games are great times for fun and laughter, and they teach your child valuable skills and principles, such as strategizing, planning, and honesty.
Help them with their lessons and participate in school activities.
Millennial dads can take over mom in teaching kids their math and history, two subjects that interest most males. It doesn’t have to be a nightly thing. Help them when lessons are particularly difficult, and they will always remember those times when they are grownups.
Make your presence felt in school, too. With bullying being a school problem, you can get a feel of what’s happening in school when you attend their activities. And while it’s not fair to moms, the reality is, a father’s presence gets more notice.