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The Father Factor

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Closing Week of The Dad Games

The Dad Games challenged you for four weeks to be a “Gold Medal Dad.” Each week we provided a checklist of seven actions to help you connect with your family. The final week's challenge is Gold Medal Dads...Set Goals To Improve.

Dad Games 12Over the last few weeks, you have been challenged to spend time connecting with your kids, working on your relationship with your spouse/mom of your children, affirming your children, and balancing work and family. Dads, after a month of challenges, you have gold medaled in fathering!

We hope as a result of the last month of challenges, you are a better family man than you were in June! It’s been a blast to be challenged, learn from other dads, and connect through The Dad Games. This closing week of The Dad Games ends on Tuesday August 21 and will be no different! Get details about The Dad Games 2012.


This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Set Goals To Improve.
 Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.

Now that you completed four weeks to fathering challenges. What does an Olympic athlete do? He or she continues training, right? Just as an athlete would do, we encourage you to keep training as a dad! We are here to help. We have one final week of ideas for how you can keep training for Team Dad!

The seven action steps for the final week of The Dad Games is as follows:

1) Identify areas of fathering where you are "winning gold:" Challenge yourself to write down what you are doing well. You have challenged yourself in The Dad Games, there must be something you are doing well. Write that down for this activity.

2) Identify area of fathering where you need to improve: Through the challenges, you may have found areas where you need to improve. Take time to consider areas you need improvement in and write those down for this step.

3) Set three goals to stay strong where you're already "winning:" You have your areas that you are doing well in as a dad. Take those areas and create specific and if possible numeric goals.

4) Set three goals to help yourself improve in weaker fathering areas: Like you did for areas you are doing well in, take the weaker areas and create specific and quantifiable goals.

5) Talk to your team (mom, kids, and other dads) about your goals: You now have your goals, take them and discuss them with your family and other dads. Look for people to come along and help you in areas where you are weaker. Seek out and learn from mentors. Don't wait for other dads to bring this topic up to you, they won't. Take the lead and talk openly about ways to improve as a dad.

6) Post your goals where you will see them and stay focused: Be intentional about keeping your goals in front of you. Take the effort to post your goals somewhere you will be reminded of them in the coming days.

7) Consider being a Double Duty Dad to a kid who needs a father figure: If you have completed all the challenges and created your goals, you are doing very well as a dad to your kids. You’re basically the greatest dad ever! Now, use those professional dad-skills on your community. NFI challenges you to find a child that may not have a father figure and be that influence for that child. Learn more about Double Duty Dad.

Question: What’s one area you are working on as a result of The Dad Games?

 

Dad GamesReminder: To honor your efforts in The Dad Games, we're giving away prizes including sports memorabilia signed by celebrity athletes and free prize packs. How can you win?!
 Enter by sharing your experiences and connecting with other dads on FacebookTwitter (#DadGames12), and commenting on our blog (Get more info on how to enter here!).

Visit Gold Medal Dads…Set Goals To Improve for tips on training for Team Dad.

7 Ways to Balance Work and Family

We have 24 hours in a day. For the most part, we decide how we spend those 24 hours. A good dad manages work and family. Dad, you must be intentional about how you are spending your time between juggling your work and family priorities. Often, us dads can fall into the trap of letting priorities at work overtake priorities at home.

Balance Work and Family

It's not easy to juggle everything all of the time. However, we can do a better job of working hard AND showing our families we love them. It is absolutely vital that our wife and kids see us as the people who “get things done." How we prioritize will make all the difference in whether our families view us as leaders and influencers or not.

Here are seven ways you can begin balancing work and family:

1) Resolve not to take work home
Challenge yourself to either not take your work home or do it after the kids are in bed. Unplug mentally and physically before you get home. Honestly, I’m the worst at this. The days I do this best are the days that I make myself stop in the driveway, and detach from the day's work.

Recognize that once you enter the house, you’re on borrowed time. It’s not your time to fall on the sofa and rest. Your day is not finished. It’s time to cook, clean and be with the kids. Hug and kiss the wife (before the kids!), hug and kiss the kids and keep working.

Work to be present with your family and not checking emails from your sofa! I’ve done this and I’m repenting as I write (I can do this, I’m a professional!). I don’t want my life to be this way. Only I can change it. For you, it’s your choice. Save the work for after the kids go to sleep, or until the next day!

2) Make sure you come home on time this week
This challenge may sound easier than it is. Dads, this may mean you need to work harder during the day in order to leave on time! This will take planning and purpose on your side to prioritize your day with the end in mind.

3) Get to the office early so you can attend special events
Every week there is something to attend whether it’s a practice or family game night. If you look at your kid’s schedule, there’s probably something you’re missing. Dad, make the extra effort to be physically present and spend time with your family. Go to the practice or take the kids on that boring errand with you.

4) Put your family's schedule on your calendar
A wise man once said if you don’t plan to succeed you plan to fail. Prioritize your duties at work and home. Not that I’m perfect at this, but something that seems to work for me is that I use one to-do list for work and home and one calendar for work and home. My simple theory: If I’m with family, I can’t be doing work and vice versa. Get with your family and review the upcoming months. If that’s too much to ask, start with next week. But be intentional to add the events to your calendar and mark them as the special days that they are. This doesn’t need to be only major events like recitals and family vacations. Mark time in your calendar for down time on a regular Thursday evening at home with your kids. Plan for success!

5) Bring updated pictures of your kids to the office
Take a look at the pictures in your office. My guess is that if you have teenagers, your pictures aren’t of teenagers. If I walked into your office, I’d probably think you had a newborn! Dad, admit it, you’re pictures are old. It is time for an update.

6) Talk to your kids about what you do at your job
My five-year-old asks me daily, “Daddy, did you win at work today?!” I haven’t quite figured out how best to answer her wonderful and uplifting question. So I say, “Yes dear, daddy ‘won’ at work today!” Apparently she thinks I should come home with trophies or something. Regardless, my point here is that your kids may be more interested than you think about what you’re doing when you’re away for hours. Be intentional about explaining what you do on your child's level.

7) Learn about your office's work-family balance policies
This may require you asking for your company’s human resources manual. Scary, I know. The point is you may have extra time you can use to re-prioritize and be with your family. From use of sick time to flextime, there may be ways to take time off from work and be with your family.

Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “I miss everything or am usually late!” and 10 being “People often ask me how I get everything accomplished!” How would your family rank you? Why?

 

Dad GamesVisit Gold Medal Dads…Balance Work and Family for tips on how to rethink your priorities. Share and connect with other dads on our blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).

Find more tips and advice for all dads, including dads who travel for work and military dad at Managing Work and Family Priorities.

 

photo credit: Ian Sane

Tonight: Join #DadGames12 Twitter Party and Win Prizes, 9PM EST

Every Thursday night of The Dad Games has been a great time to connect with dads, ask questions, get answers, and share tips on how to be a better dad.

Dad Games

Join National Fatherhood Initiative (@TheFatherFactor) tonight as we host a Twitter Party for week 4 with great prizes to get dads ready to Balance Work and Family this week!

Get details about The Dad Games 2012.


Dads have a lot to juggle with work and family responsibilites. Join the party tonight ready to answer questions and share tips on how you manage the responsibilities of being a dad and leader.

This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Balance Work and Family. 
Be sure you have our checklist with seven ways you can be challenged this week.

Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.

Follow @TheFatherFactor and use the hashtag #DadGames12 for all of your tweets.

Two prize winners will be selected from among Twitter party participants at random within the party hour. You must be active at the party to increase your chances of winning!

What can you win? See the Dad Games prizes.

#DadGames12 Prize from Dove® Men+Care®: Dove® Men+Care® celebrates men who are comfortable in their own skin and understand the importance of caring for themselves and others. One Twitter party participant will win an autographed sports item from a legend and the new collection of Dove® Men+Care® products to keep you literally comfortable in your own skin.

#DadGames12 Prize from Gillette:
 Gillette has a series of limited edition Olympic-packaged products in suppport of their ongoing partnership with the Olympic Movement and their 25 Olympic athletes including Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay. One Twitter party participant will win a gift package of Gillette’s Olympic-themed products - plus a fatherhood book from NFI. 

Dad GamesHost: @TheFatherFactor

When: Thursday, August 9, 9PM EST

Hashtag: #DadGames12

 

Get next weeks Dad Games checklist in your email inbox by signing up for our Dad Email. Go Team Dad!

Gold Medal Dads...Balance Work and Family

Week three of The Dad Games of 2012 is complete. Let week four begin!

The Dad Games challenges you to be “Gold Medal Dad.” Each week we provide you with a checklist of seven actions to use in connecting with your family. This week's challenge is Gold Medal Dads...Balance Work and Family.

Dad Games

Let’s face it, dad. Work has its responsibilities and so does family. Do you often feel like when you are doing well at work your familly is left to wait on you? Or if all is right on the homefront, then something at work needs attention? It can be difficult juggling all the responsibilites we dads have.

However, an important part of being a Gold Medal Dad is learning to manage the responsibilities of work and family. We will use the word “balance” this week; but we are really working to help you "manage" your responsibilities as leaders in the workplace and at home.

This week you will be challenged to be intentional about how you are prioritizing your work responsibilities alongside your family's needs. We can do a better job of working hard AND still show our families we love and value them.

Warning: this may be the most difficult week of challenges for you. This week may also be the most important and life-changing week for you as a leader. It's vital your co-workers, your wife/ex-wife and your children see you as the person who "has it together." Let's up our game, gentleman! Take the challenge and be a Gold Medal Dad!

Question: What’s the one thing you find most difficult about “balancing” work and family responsibilities?

To honor your efforts, we're giving away prizes including sports memorabilia signed by celebrity athletes and free gift packs of men's skin care products. Learn more about the prizes here. 

How can you win?!
 Enter to win by sharing your experiences and connecting with other dads in The Dad Games on FacebookTwitter, and commenting on our blog (Get more info on how to enter here!).

Subscribe to the Dad Email™ and get The Dad Games weekly checklist in your inbox.

Dad Games

Visit Gold Medal Dads…Balance Work and Family for tips on how to rethink your priorities this week. Stay tuned during the week for more.

Share and connect with other dads this week on our blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).

Dad Games Week 3 Recap: Affirming Your Kids

Today marks the last day of Week 3: Gold Medal Dads…Affirm Their Kids. With week three of The Dad Games closing tonight and week four starting tomorrow, we look back over a great week and see what other dads are saying about the week three of the Dad Games challenge.

This week was vital to families, because an important part of being a Gold Medal Dad is affirming your child and showing affection. Showing affection and expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you as a dad, but it's important for your child to experience your love in visible, tangible ways. How you show love as a dad plays a big role in shaping a child's self-confidence and attitude.

Dad Games affirm

This past week, we challenged dads to seven activities:
1) Hug your kids every day: Hugs build bonds and fosters a sense of security and comfort.
2) Say "I love you:" Your kids know you love them; but hearing the words matters.
3) Compliment your kids.
4) Ask your kids for one way you can improve as a dad.
5) Say "thanks" as often as you can.
6) Make coming home a big deal.
7) Surprise them; do something nice or give them a treat.

We challenged you to intentionally affirm your kids this week and you delivered. You shared stories and connected with your kids in an impactful way this week. We hope you enjoyed this week and were challenged as you connected with your kids using our checklist. As we close week two, let’s look back over the highlights from other dads just like you.

Let these dads encourage you to get involved with The Dad Games. There’s only two weeks left! More importantly, be inspired to spend intentional time with you kids and family. Below are highlights from week three:

What Gold Medal Dads Are Saying About Affirming Their Kids
“Tell your kids several times a day how much you love them. Show your love for them. Be respectful to their mother.” –Ian Miller

“Didn't have to be in court till 1:30 other day so took kids 2 playground in morning-many women asked if I was sick or unemployed #dadgames12” -- @GeekDad248

“Cheer practice now. Can't imagine 5yr olds learning 50 cheers. We shall see what happens. Good luck to coaches #DadGames12.”--Chris Delgado @CDel58

“I hug my daughter daily. #DadGames12” –Brian Tooley @BrianTooley1

“I must say AWESOME a lot to my son because lately whenever he likes something he says "awesome" #DadGames12 – @GeekDad248

“Taking daughter to see the movie she has wanted to see all summer-Diary of a Wimpy Kid. She thinks we have errands tomorrow but NO! #DadGames12” – Brian Tooley @BrianTooley1

“I knew my dad loved me from how he treated me but he never said the words - I make effort say "love you" to my kids #dadgames12” -- @GeekDad248

“Even though parents divorced, Dad never said bad word about my mother #Dadgames12” – Jon Wilke @Jon_Wilke

Go Team Dad!
 Week 3 may be coming to a close but you can join us for Week 4!

Stay tuned for more information as we challenge you to be a Gold Medal Dad by Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities!

Question: What did you do this week to show your kid(s) you loved them?

Don’t forget to sign up for our Dad Email to get the weekly checklist.

Dad Games 12Visit The Dad Games of 2012 for tips on connecting with your family. 

Share and connect with other dads on the blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).




photo credit: hlkljgk

Wondering if Your Child Feels Loved?

This is a guest post by Heather Creekmore. If you would like to guest post on this blog, email us here
 
“Daddy, Big UG! Daddy, Daddy, Big UG...Big UG...”

If you sneak into my house, this is what you'll hear my two-year-old say, over and over again, before his Daddy leaves for work. He'll then run to the door, clearing toys out of his path, so that he can attach himself to my husband's leg, waiting for his Daddy to bend down and give him a full embrace.

kidandblocks080612 resized 600
But, while you are observing, you may also notice my oldest boy. He's almost six and will wrinkle his nose in disgust as his dad rubs on his buzz cut hair. Sometimes, if his mood is just right, he'll initiate a hug. But, most of the time he'd rather talk. He's a creator and dreamer. He'd rather hear Daddy affirm his latest Lego masterpiece or agree to whatever detailed plan he's come up with for that day, evening, or for when he turns twenty. He's got big ideas and he wants Daddy to listen and put his stamp of approval on them. 

We have a total of four children and one of the most fascinating adventures for us as parents has been discovering their similarities and their differences, especially in the area of affirmation. We could squeeze on my eldest all day and he wouldn't be satisfied without some words. Whereas we could talk the socks off my two-year old, yet all he really needs to feel secure are some big, ‘H’-less, “ugs.” 

This might have been more of a mystery to me if I hadn't read a book called, The Five Love Languages of Children, by Dr. Gary Chapman. Chapman’s theory is that everybody has a way, or language, in which they best express and receive love. Verbal affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, and quality time are the five categories dubs as languages. Dr. Chapman adapted his original book (The Five Love Languages) into this version for parents to help them better discover the ways in which their offspring express and receive messages of care and acceptance.

Want to know what language your little guy or gal speaks? The best way to figure out their language is to first stop, and figure out your own. 

Are you a dad who needs to hear aloud how much you are loved? Or, maybe you feel most loved when someone takes care of you…like when your spouse does your laundry or takes care of that errand you were putting off. Do you prefer presents over a warm embrace? Or, do you just want someone to spend focused time with you? 

Do you show someone you love them by serving them, telling them, spending time with them, physically connecting with them or giving them tokens of your love?

Once you figure out your language, start to observe your children more carefully. Do they always find "presents" to give you or ways to “help” you? Do they just want you to sit and be with them? Do they just want to be physically close? Do they want to hear or say “I love you” frequently? 

Take time to discover your child’s language and then find ways to intentionally “speak it” with them. Remember, if you have more than one child, they may all have different languages. If you aren’t sure what language is being spoken, experiment! And, if your child is older, ask for his or her ideas and feedback.

There's no doubt: Kids need a lot. You start buying gear for your newborn and the expenses just never stop. You’ve given so much you may feel as if there is no way your child doesn’t know they are loved. But, I hope you’ll remember that children need affection and affirmation in special ways that their little brains are wired to understand. And, that’s where this information can help take the question out of whether or not your children understand how much they are loved. 

So take the challenge! Discover your child's love language, and your own! You won’t regret it!

Question: Which love language does your child(ren) speak? 

Dad GamesVisit Gold Medal Dads…Affirm Their Kids for tips on how you can affirm and show affection to your kids.

Remember to share and connect with other dads on our blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).

 

This is a guest post by Heather Creekmore. Heather worked at the National Fatherhood Initiative from 2000 until 2007 when she “retired” from full time employment to live the glamorous life of a stay-at-home mom. Heather and her husband Eric reside outside of Dallas and have four children, ages 5 and under. She now spends her days changing diapers, making a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich, teaching fitness classes, and blogging. Read Heather's blog about the similarities between faith and fitness.
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

Join #DadGames12 Twitter Party and Win Prizes - Tonight 9PM EST

Week 2 is in the books and week 3 is here. We had a blast last Thursday as many dads joined our Twitter party with questions, answers, tips and advice. Join National Fatherhood Initiative (@TheFatherFactor) as we host a Twitter Party for week 3 with great prizes to get dads ready to Affirm Their Kids this week!

Get full details about The Dad Games 2012.
Join us tonight at 9PM EST as we share advice and tips for this week's topic of how to intentionally show and tell your children you love them.

An important part of being a Gold Medal Dad is affirming your child and showing affection. Showing affection and expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you, but it's important for your child to experience you demonstrating your love in visible, tangible ways. Affirmation from Dad plays a big role in shaping a child's self-confidence and attitude.

We are connecting at the party with the goal of learning from each other about how best to show our kids we love them and connect with them in an impactful way. It will be a fun time to connect and share ideas for dads of all ages who have children at all stages!

Last week's party was a great time to connect with other dads and be motivated to work through the action steps of the checklist. Remember, we're becoming Gold Medal Dads to our help impact our families.

This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Affirm Their Kids
Make sure you have our checklist with seven ideas of how you can work at your relationship.

Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.

During tonight’s Twitter party, we’ll walk through some of the challenges for the week and share stories and ideas of how to win Gold by being intentional about affirming and showing our affection to our children.

Bring your advice, tips and questions!

Be sure you’re following @TheFatherFactor and using the hashtag #DadGames12 for all your tweets.

Two prize winners will be selected from among Twitter party participants and notified at the close of party. Must be active at the party to increase your chances of winning!

What can you win? See the Dad Games prizes.

#DadGames12 Prize from Dove® Men+Care®:

Dove® Men+Care® celebrates men who are comfortable in their own skin and understand the importance of caring for themselves and others. One Twitter party participant will win an autographed sports item from a legend and the new collection of Dove® Men+Care® products to keep you literally comfortable in your own skin.

#DadGames12 Prize from Gillette:
Gillette has a series of limited edition Olympic-packaged products in suppport of their ongoing partnership with the Olympic Movement and their 25 Olympic athletes including Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay. One Twitter party participant will win a gift package of Gillette’s Olympic-themed products - plus a fatherhood book from NFI. 

Dad Games

Host: @TheFatherFactor

When: Thursday, August 2nd at 9PM EST

Hashtag: #DadGames12


Get next weeks Dad Games checklist directly in your email inbox by signing up for our Dad Email. Go Team Dad!

Gold Medal Dads...Affirm Their Kids

Dad GamesWith week two of The Dad Games of 2012 is complete, and we are ready for week 3! 

The Dad Games challenges dads to become “Gold Medal Dads” in five areas of fathering. Each week we provide Dad's with a checklist of seven actions to take in order to connect with the family. This week's challenge is Gold Medal Dads...Affirm Their Kids.

An important part of being a Gold Medal Dad is affirming your child and showing affection. Showing affection and expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you, but it's important for your child to experience you demonstrating your love in visible, tangible ways. Affirmation from Dad plays a big role in shaping a child's self-confidence and attitude.

To honor your efforts, we're giving away prizes including sports memorabilia signed by celebrity athletes and free gift packs of men's skin care products. Learn more about the prizes here. 

We're challenging you to take the seven challenges this week to show (and tell) your kids you love them. 

How can you win?!
You enter to win by sharing your experiences and connecting with other dads in The Dad Games on FacebookTwitter, and commenting on our blog (Get more info on how to enter here!).

Subsribe to the Dad Email™ and get The Dad Games weekly checklist in your inbox.

Question: In your experience, what must you do to show (and tell) your kids you love them?

Dad GamesVisit Gold Medal Dads…Affirm Their Kids for tips on how you can affirm and show affection to your kids intentionally this week.

Remember to share and connect with other dads this week on the blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).

Co-Parenting Through Thick and Thin

This is a guest post by Dave Taylor. If you would like to guest post on this blog, email us here

The “fantasy divorce” is that you and your partner come to a point in your lives when you realize you're just not happy, things just aren't going very well, and it would be in the best interest of your spouse and child(ren) to get a divorce and split into two separate households. In this “fantasy divorce” you'll still remain friends because you have this big life-long job of parenting that's not going to stop just because one of you leaves the house. As the years go by, you find there are things about the other person you remember you like and admire, and even when there are new partners added, you're all one big happy extended family and the kids grow up surrounded by peace, love and harmony…

…on the other hand, my experience has definitely not fit that “fantasy divorce” image…

divorceblog073012 resized 600 

By the time my wife and I decided to divorce, we'd been separated for almost a year. We then went through an incredibly difficult and contentious divorce where she had my business audited, we accused each other of being poor parents and various other things that demonstrate just how much we were both hurting -- things that were quite the opposite of the halcyon image suggested above. Mediators threw up their hands and quit on us, lawyers resigned after documents were signed, but we struggled through, trying to convince ourselves that it wasn't going too badly and since we both had the best interests of the children in mind, after all, somehow it would all end well.

Zoom forward three more years and I'm the statistically unlikely divorced dad who is highly involved with my children and we've settled on a schedule where our three kids are with me more than they are with their mom. There's still a lot of water flowing under the bridge, and there are still things we dislike about each other both as people and as parents, but we're trying to make it work.

So how the heck do we co-parent, and how do we keep the lines of communication open so we can have important discussions about our teen daughter, or our tween son's desire to be treated as if he's a high school senior, or our youngest (almost 9) and her fears around bedtime, not to mention the million day-to-day issues that crop up?

For us, it's worked out that we rarely if ever talk face-to-face, even at pick up/drop off, but instead use text messaging for immediate logistics -- "be there in five!" "do you know where their bike helmets are?" -- and email for more involved discussions, trying our very best to not judge each other, not criticize each other, and just stay focused on the topic at hand.

The myth of "walking away" from a relationship and moving to the next one, the lovely image of "turning a page" to a "new chapter" in your life, is great intention, but the reality is there are a lot of shared experiences with your former spouse, experiences that are expanded each and every time you have to communicate about your children and your co-parenting strategy, something that for us happens about every 2-3 days, and even more frequently during the school year.

With that much communication, I have no expectation that it'll be perfect and I'm not surprised when snark or petty criticism creeps in the messages I get from my ex. I expect I do the same. We're getting better, almost five years after we went our separate ways, but it's a long journey and I think it's important to recognize that our all-too-human foibles and weaknesses are just part of being an adult, a parent, and that if we have best intention and can endeavor to forgive the other person for being who they are - for better or worse - then we can proceed with the incredibly important job of co-parenting our beautiful children and making new lives for ourselves, without the ex being an invisible ball and chain around our ankles.

I don't have a perfect solution for communicating with your ex about your children; or how to create a healthy and mature arms-length partnership with them. There are reasons you got divorced, after all, and there's nothing more difficult than parenting, except perhaps parenting when the kids bounce between two households that are inevitably going to be different in rules, schedules and expectations. 

Perhaps the real secret? Keep your attention on your children and keep a sense of humor about everything. Those wee ones are surprisingly resilient and odds are very good they'll grow up to be lovely adults so long as they grow up with an involved father.

What’s the best advice you ever received about communicating with your spouse/former spouse about parenting?

 

Dad Games 12Visit Gold Medal Dads…Communicate with Mom for tips on how you can connect with your wife and/or the mother of your children. Remember to share and connect with other dads this week of The Dad Games on the blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).

 

This is a guest post by Dave Taylor. Dave writes about life as a single father when he's not mired in the chaotic lives of his three children. Read Dave’s blog and follow him on Twitter. If you would like to guest post on this blog, email us here.

photo credit: Manu gomi


Join #DadGames12 Twitter Party and Win Prizes - Tonight 9PM EST

Dad Games 12Week 1 is in the books and week 2 is here. We had a blast last Thursday as many dads joined our Twitter party with questions, answers, tips and advice. Join National Fatherhood Initiative (@TheFatherFactor) as we host a Twitter Party for week 2 with great prizes to get dads ready for Communicating with Mom this week!

Get full details about The Dad Games 2012.
Join us tonight at 9PM EST as we share advice and tips for this week's topic of how to connect with your wife and the mother of your children.

Last week's party was a great time to conenct with other dads and be motivated to work through the action steps of the checklist. Remember, we're becoming Gold Medal Dads to our help impact our kids, our wives/kids’ moms and our family.

This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Communicate With Mom
Make sure you have our checklist with seven ideas of how you can work at your relationship.

Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.

During tonight’s Twitter party, we’ll walk through some of the challenges for the week and share stories and ideas of how to win Gold by connecting with your spouse or the mother to your kids.

Bring your advice, tips and questions!

Be sure you’re following @TheFatherFactor and using the hashtag #DadGames12 for all your tweets.

Two prize winners will be selected from among Twitter party participants and notified at close of party. Be active at the party to increase your chances of winning!

What can you win? See the Dad Games prizes.

#DadGames12 Prize from Dove® Men+Care®:
Dove® Men+Care® celebrates men who are comfortable in their own skin and understand the importance of caring for themselves and others. One Twitter party participant will win an autographed sports item from a legend and the new collection of Dove® Men+Care® products to keep you literally comfortable in your own skin.

#DadGames12 Prize from Gillette:
Gillette has a series of limited edition Olympic-packaged products in suppport of their ongoing partnership with the Olympic Movement and their 25 Olympic athletes including Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay. One Twitter party participant will win a gift package of Gillette’s Olympic-themed products - plus a fatherhood book from NFI. 

Host: @TheFatherFactor
When: Thursday, July 26 at 9PM EST
Hashtag: #DadGames12

To get next weeks Dad Games checklist directly to your email inbox, sign up for our Dad Email. Go Dads!

Week 1 Recap of The Dad Games

describe the imageWe had a blast sharing stories and being challenged to spend time with our kids this week. We hope you connected with your children throughout our challenge.

Through our blog, Facebook page and Twitter stream, we not only connected with our children, we connected with other dads.

Dads, we can be intentional and spend quality and quantity time with our children. We can make an impact on our kids' lives.

It’s been a busy week. Check out hightlights of what dads who are competing in The Dad Games are saying! Below is a snapshot of the first week. Remember, you can join at any time!

What Dads Are Saying on the Blog
Spent the day with my daughter today. Went to lunch, spent time reading at the local bookstore and pre-shopping at the mall for back to school. --Sean Nixon

Camping is a great way to spend time with your children. There are a variety of cool aspects to camping, allowing you to explore with you kids and do things together. You can really connect with your child during this time of relaxation and enjoyment. I know from first hand experience. I've been camping with my own kids for several consecutive years now. It's a blast! --Dan Rayner

I recently purchased kayaks for myself, my wife and my nine-year-old daughter. For quality time with my daughter, I took her to the nearby lake and we spent the afternoon kayaking and talking. She loved the exercise and I loved the small talk with my little girl. --Chuck Wooddy

Love the idea of the 2012 Dad Games! Had a ball yesterday riding the go-kart, bike riding, reading, etc. Summer has been great overall, but it's nice to have the "challenge" placed in front of me as well as other Dad's. --Tim Myers

Dad Games 2012. Great idea to inspire us guys to be better fathers. My little girl is 1. I read a couple of books to her today. The most important time to me is when we both can take a nap together during the day. Lets do work DADS!! --Robert Witcher 

My son and I have colored, played Batman, fixed the kitchen tile in my grandfather's house, read a few books, and the week ain't over yet. :) Thanks for the fishing tips. My son is afraid of pretty much every animal so fishing is a no-go for a while anyway. –Maury Wood


What Dads Are Saying on Facebook
I am a single dad. My daughter is 12 years old for the last 4 years she has been doing fundraising to help kids go to church camp. This past sat. 7/14 she did a car wash we washed cars for 4hrs in june she did a garage sale and bake sale this is how we spend a lot of our time and the hard work of helping others it is fun to help my daughter do what makes her fill good. --Doug Tripp

I've taken four of my children to work with me on my side job this week so I can spend some time with them and so they can see what a hard days work is. --Billy D Vickers

Me, my son, and my daughter a ping pong table on Friday. Saturday we went to the circus in the morning and then went straight to Splashtown waterpark right after. We had such a wonderful time! --Matt Taylor

My daughter Savannah and I spent all weekend at a Girls Scout camp for Girl Scouts and their family members. We rode horses, hiked, did crafts, archery, low ropes, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was one of the best times ever!!!!! --Mike Parish

Yes, from bringing them to work to having "special lunches" while @ work to fun dinners, late night dips in the pool . Movies ordering pizza late at night to all falling asleep together on the same couch.. Loved every second of it! --Will Hamilton

Not this week but last week was great, went home on a pass before I deploy to spend 4 days with my little girl. I took her and my niece swimming 2 days, ate together everyday, took some naps and held her close, seen the new Ice Age movie and spent every moment I was there with her. I can't wait to get back to her! --Lee Whited


What Dads Are Saying on Twitter
Told wife my main goal is to make her happy. She said 1 of the best things I've ever said. Show kids u love mom. #DadGames12 @maurydwood2

I took my daughter to a movie and then bowling.....but we play xbox daily #DadGames12 @chefydaddy

Saturday mornings we go get bagels and give Mom the morning off! #DadGames12 @bfalvey

I was missing too much so left high-paying job so could work part-time & spend more time raising my kids #dadgames12 @GeekDad248 

Making up dance moves to songs like Call Me Maybe in our chairs once dinner is done. #DadGames12 @cdel58

Meal time is our listening and giggling time. 3.5yr old tells antics of day. Sometimes tattles on herself #Dadgames12 @jon_wilke

My son and I read a National Geographic Kids magazine last night and a dinosaur alphabet book #DadGames12 @candyland0606

Singing The Duck Song with my kids. Grand time quacking together before bed time #DadGames12 @JasonBruce

Getting spanked by my kids in UNO. #DadGames12 @ctramosono


Great job, Dads! Keep up the good work!

Week 1 may be over, but you can still join us for Week 2! Stay tuned for more information as we challenge you to be a Gold Medal Dad by Communicating with Mom!

Don’t forget to sign up for our Dad Email to get this week’s checklist. Then share how you’re competing with other dads during the week.

Feeding Fish? Take the Nightcrawlers. Leave the Fake Bait.

I cheapened fishing for my daughters. New Dads, learn from my mistake. Don't use artificial bait on your first fishing trip with your kids. I don't know what I was thinking. In my attempt to curb drama and avoid the Sanders Beauties seeing a nightcrawler and jumping headfirst into the lake, my girls’ interest in fishing may be forever scarred.

bgfisin resized 600From now on, when I take the girls fishing, they will get the full fishing experience. They will use real worms. This way, even if no fish are caught, they will still remember something interesting about the experience.

This was the first fishing trip with my two young daughters. We picked our spot on the dock and started readying ourselves to fish. Then came the ducks. Except to call these ducks “ducks” isn’t descriptive enough. Let’s call them “starving ducks.” So the starving ducks, no sooner than we sat down with our fishing gear, headed our way from the center of the lake.

Not only were these ducks starving. They were large. When I say “large” I mean the size of my second-born. These large, starving ducks decided we weren’t feeding them at the correct pace and jumped on the dock to eat our breadcrumbs faster, or eat my youngest daughter. Either way, after all the duck commotion, my five-year-old had readied herself to make her first cast.

To be sure Bella knew how to cast, I did a practice cast to show her how a professional does it. On that cast, something broke inside the fishing pole and the hook landed on the side of the dock. Five minutes in and we have starving, large ducks on the attack and a broken fishing pole…nice.

After spending a good 10 minutes (reminder: 10 minutes is 100 minutes in toddler time) dissembling and dissecting the Shakespeare Barbie Fishing Pole, we have working fishing poles and the ducks are starting to scatter. I didn’t get video, but Bella’s first cast was video worthy. Her cast was absolutely breath-taking; just like she had practiced in our house (yeah, that’s a separate blog post).

No sooner than the floater-thingy landed on the water, the starving, large ducks decided to try and eat my second-born. Now, no ducks were harmed on this fishing trip, but I may have cast in their direction a few times, to keep them safe. My youngest called it “hitting the ducks on the head” but I promise the number of duck heads hit on my watch was zero.

Maybe 10 minutes goes by, we get zero bites. The ducks were starving but the fish weren't. The duck-drama has mellowed out and boredom begins to seep in.

Dads of older kids, perhaps you’ve forgotten, but a five-year-old and a two-year-old at a lake with fishing poles doesn’t mathematically work unless something interesting is happening. If nothing interesting -- like catching fish -- is happening, the kids get bored really quickly and start thinking of things to toss in the body of water appearing in front of them. 

In an effort to keep the intensity and interest up about actually fishing in the lake instead of wanting to swim or toss objects in the lake, we decide to locate a second port of call on the lake. We find this great wooden dock. It’s perfect. Gabby learns to cast like her sister. Well, sort of; she caught the wooden dock and nearly submerged her fishing pole. She's the only one who can say she caught something on this trip.

The story doens't end there. On the return walk home, I’m carrying fishing poles and my wife wants to exchange fishing poles so I can carry our youngest. In our exchange, my wife gets pierced in the hand with both hooks from the fishing poles. Thus making our perfect fishing trip even better.

Once home and settled, the conversation with my five-year-old went like this:

Me: “Bella, did you have fun fishing?!”

Bella: “It wasn’t so great. It was boring.”

Me: “Did you like anything about fishing?!”

Bella: “No.”

That was the entire conversation. Maybe the evening would have been better spent watching Ice Age for the fifty-eleventh time. Bella was “bored” and we didn’t catch anything but bug bites, a wooden deck and mommy’s hand. But as the wise man Trace Adkins sings about spending time fishing with his young daughter, “...she thinks we're just fishing.”

I’m glad my wife and I managed to keep a five- and two-year-old dry and alive on our first fishing trip. Aside from Bella having a “not so great” time (as evidenced by the smiling picture above) and my lovely wife suffering minor injuries. We spent time connecting and creating a memory that will last for years. I agree with Mr. Adkins on fishing, “I better do this every chance I get...'cause time is ticking.”

But next time I'll remember -- take the nightcrawlers, leave the fake bait.

What did you do this week to connect with your kids?

This fishing trip was part of week one’s challenge to Gold Medal Dads to "Spend Time With Their Kids" from The Dad Games 2012.

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7 Ways To Connect With Your Kids

Spending time with your kids can be difficult. I’m talking the real, intentional time. I don’t mean the time like when you’re in the same room with your kids but you’re on your phone streaming twitter while your daughter plays in the background because you have a job in social media and must retweet that quote from that guy who said that thing about fathering…wait…I flashed-back to last night at my house. Sorry.

7 ways to connect with your kids

The challenge is to actually spend time and undivided attention with our kids.

Here are seven ideas to help get you started:

1) Gather the Family for a Meal
Enjoying a family meal together is one of the best ways to connect as a family. It’s an opportunity to discuss the highs and lows of the day and talk in detail about what you’re children are learning each day. Check out our tips to help you make family mealtime easy and meaningful!

2) Read to Your Child
If you have young children, read to them. Use deep voices for some character and high voices for others. Be animated. Your child needs to hear his/her dad’s voice. 

Reading allows for bonding with your children like nothing else.

Think about how close you have to be to read to someone. You wouldn’t sit and read to a stranger on a bus. That would be weird. Reading is a great way to connect with your child, if only for a few minutes. Be warned, you won’t be able to read only one book. Your child will beg for more!

For older child: read the same books your children are interested in. This will take extra effort, but at least take time to discuss the latest book they’re reading. Ask good questions about the books and characters like, "Which character in the book is your favorite? Why?" The point is to connect with your child on a deeper level than asking “how was your day?” Then they answer, “Good.” And then the talk ends.

NFI’s tips on making reading fun will work well if you feel like you don’t know how to get started with this activity.

3) Interact in Play With Your Child
Do something with your child that he/she enjoys. Let them pick the thing. Whether it’s getting on the floor and playing with dolls or trucks, get on your child’s level and play. The simpliest thing you can do now will reap massive rewards and open lines of communications for later. 

For older child: do something they like, such as playing video games or walking around the mall – be invested and interested in your child intentionally for this activity.

4) Dad-Kid Dates
Whether you have a son or daughter, take time to go out for ice cream, eat together or take a walk. The point is to spend individual time with your child. If you have more than one child, work toward children getting their own individual time with you. (If you can pull this activity off with multiple children, please write us in the comments and give your advice on making this happen!)

5) Get Active
Engage your children in physical activity. It will bond you together and help build healthy habits. From riding a bike, basketball, or walking in a nearby park, you can be intentional about getting out from the normal routine and get active this week. 

6) Get Creative
This may be as simple as coloring together if you have young children or involving your child in fixing something around the house. Consider cooking together for this activity. From the trip to the store to preparation, use the time to connect with your child and talk about life while you do something that you have to do anyway – eat!

7) Family Game Night
Did you have family game night growing up? Whether your family played board games or not when you were a kid, the idea here is to have fun and get the family together and playing. We have suggestions for games to suit all ages and ideas to make game time fun for your child.

At NFI, we know that children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social and emotional level when measured by social science researchers. Keep up the good work, dads!

photo credit: kevin dooley

Join #DadGames12 Twitter Party and Win Prizes - Tonight 9PM EST

DadGames12In the spirit of the 2012 London Olympic Games, join National Fatherhood Initiative (@TheFatherFactor) as we host a Twitter Party with awesome prizes to get dads geared up for The Dad Games of 2012!

Get full details about The Dad Games 2012.
Join us tonight at 9PM EST and each Thursday night through 8/16. We’ll share advice and tips for each week’s Dad Games topic. We’ll motivate Team Dad to stay strong in the Dad Games as we strive to be Gold Medal Dads to our kids, our kids’ moms and our family.

This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Spend Time With Their Kids.
Make sure you have our checklist with seven ideas of how you can spend time with your kids.

Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.

During tonight’s Twitter party, we’ll share stories and ideas of how to win Gold by spending time with our kids.

Bring your ideas and your questions!

Be sure you’re following @TheFatherFactor and using the hashtag #DadGames12 for all your tweets.

Prize winner will be chosen from among Twitter party participants and notified at close of party. 

What can you win? See the Dad Games prizes.

#DadGames12 Prize from Dove® Men+Care®:
Dove® Men+Care® celebrates men who are comfortable in their own skin and understand the importance of caring for themselves and others. One Twitter party participant will win an autographed item from a sports legend and the new collection of Dove® Men+Care® products to keep you literally comfortable in your own skin.

#DadGames12 Prize from Gillette:
Gillette has a series of limited edition Olympic-packaged products in suppport of their ongoing partnership with the Olympic Movement and their 25 Olympic athletes including Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay. One Twitter party participant will win a gift package of Gillette’s Olympic-themed products - plus a fatherhood book from NFI. 

Host: @TheFatherFactor
When: Thursday, July 19th at 9PM EST
Hashtag: #DadGames12

To get next weeks Dad Games checklist directly to your email inbox, sign up for our Dad Email.

Introducing The Dad Games of 2012!

DadGames bannerAs the nation gears up to cheer for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics, we're gearing up to cheer for Team Dad in The Dad Games of 2012

For five weeks we're challenging you to be a Gold Medal Dad by giving you specific actions to build your connection with your children, the mom of your children and your family. 

It's important to invest in your relationship with your kids no matter what, but we're excited to make it extra fun this month with great prizes and giveaways - including autographed memorabilia from celebrity athletes and free skin care products for men! 

How can you win?!  

Every Wednesday for five weeks, the Dad Email™ will focus on a particular topic of what makes a Gold Medal Dad.  

We'll provide a checklist of specific actions you can take during the week to build your connection with your children in five areas of Gold Medal fathering:

  1. Gold Medal Dads...Spend Time with Their Kids
  2. Gold Medal Dads...Communicate with Mom
  3. Gold Medal Dads...Affirm Their Kids
  4. Gold Medal Dads...Balance Work and Family
  5. Gold Medal Dads...Always Try to Improve

Then, to win one of the awesome Dad Games prizes... 

  • Connect with us during each week on the Blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Each comment, tag or mention (for that week) will make you eligible for a prize!  

email icon resized 600Sign up for the Dad Email™ to stay up-to-date with The Dad Games of 2012! 
Invite other dads to join in The Dad Games by signing up to create some friendly competition with your dad friends.

blog resized 600Check The Father Factor Blog
I will talk about my participation in The Dad Games along with you. Make sure you're subscribed to the blog and comment with your stories and tips each week to be entered to win! 

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Follow Us on Twitter
Use #DadGames12 and join us for Twitter parties every Thursday at 9pm EST as TEAM DAD tweets about the weekly topic. One prize will be given at every Twitter party!

facebook resized 600Tag Us on Facebook
Post on our timeline, share a picture of you doing something with your child from the Dad Games Checklist, or comment on our Dad Games posts to be entered to win a prize. 

Are you ready for The Dad Games of 2012?
Join TEAM DAD and Be a Gold Medal Dad Today!

Visit our home for The Dad Games 2012 for more information.

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