Whether it appears on a coffee mug, T-shirt or oversized belt buckle, the phrase “World’s Greatest Dad” gets plenty of use on Father’s Day. Having guided their families through the COVID-19 crisis, dads across Canada deserve extra props this year!
If you’re wondering how so many dads can be ranked No. 1, here’s the deal: to their own kids, every single one of them really IS the greatest! Of course, there’s always room for improvement in the father-child relationship, and that’s where our good friends and collaborators over at The Men’s Initiative (TMI) come in. As fathers themselves, the organization’s three founders offer these 10 great tips for being a better “World’s Greatest Dad.”
Dr. John Izzo: Quality time meets hugs
As a “founding father” of the Vancouver-based TMI, Dr. John Izzo is all about bringing people together to improve guys’ lives. As a dad himself, John knows plenty about the power of a child’s love, and offers these tips on helping this love grow and thrive:
- “Spend a few one-on-one minutes each day with each of your children. Be 100 percent focused. Ask them how they are doing and how their day was.”
- “Ask them to tell you one way they would like you to be an even better dad. Listen deeply and don’t defend. Then act on their feedback.”
- “When one of your children hugs you, no matter how old they are, don’t let go until they do. You might be surprised how much longer they want your hug!”
There are so many benefits of spending time with your child: Building their self-esteem, strengthening family bonds, developing good behaviour, encouraging communication, improving their school work, and forming positive relationships with others. The list goes on and on. And let’s not forget having a ton of fun!
Dr. Duncan Shields: Curiosity meets self-esteem
- “Find things that your kids are doing right, and compliment them on that. Kids will grow in the direction of your pride.”
- “Be the father you wish you’d had. When your kids remember being stuck at home during the COVID-19 crisis or look back on their early life, what stories will they tell about their time with you?”
- “Give your kids the gift of your quality attention. Don’t just tell them what to do or how to behave. Listening to them and being curious about how they think teaches them they’re worth listening to. Your children are your footprints in the future, and your job is to set them up to go further than you have been able to go.”
On that note, check out these new studies showing that many Canadian dads feel closer to their kids during the pandemic, and want that closeness to continue. How awesome is THAT?
Dr. David Kuhl: Pride meets fun
- “Spend time reading with your kids. If you don’t enjoy reading, tell them stories or use the pictures in books to have a conversation with them.”
- “Tell your kids that you love them, that you’re proud of them, and that you would not want to live your life without them in it.”
- “Hug your kids even before they hug you.”
- “Once or twice a week, invite them to spend half an hour with you doing whatever they want to do.”
If they use that time to make you a “World’s Greatest Dad” gift, you’ll have earned the title all the more. “World’s Greatest-est Dad” may sound unusual, but it does have a nice ring to it.
Help other dads out. What makes you feel like the “World’s Greatest Dad”? Rock star pancakes on the weekend? The way you sing their favourite song? Share the fun in the comments below!
This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.