Whether you're a dad who travels for long periods of time or you work long hours, it's easy to feel disconnected from your children's daily routines. Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, offers three simple but important ways you can connect with your children and enter their world.
1. Create Photo Journals
Whether you are planning a trip in advance or have to leave suddenly, buy two cameras with your child. While you're away, both of you can take pictures of where you are and what you're doing. When you return home, share the photos and create a scrapbook of your favorites. If you are away for a long period of time, create the scrapbooks individually and then send the photo journals back and forth to each other. Photo journals give your child—and you—something to look forward to, instead of making the time apart something to dread.
2. Communicate Directly
Don't rely on your wife to relay messages to your child. Your child doesn't want to know about you, your child wants to know you. A few minutes of conversation with you will mean more to them than what Mom says you said.
3. Make a Meal-Time Strategy.
To connect with his own child, Roland began taking his son out to breakfast as a weekly ritual. The breakfast had no agenda other than to give him and his son some time together. Repeatedly asking your children questions about their lives and sharing what happens in your life away from home will help your children open up. Be persistent and patient.
Published on October 30, 2002