Be a Good Dad; Check Out These 10 Tips Part I:

I remember thinking, still do, and possibly might always think that I hope I don’t screw this dad thing. I want to ensure that I lead with my best foot forward every day in helping to raise my daughter. I often seek help from my father and mother as well as friends and family for guidance. As the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” It’s my personal goal to strive to be a good dad and may stumble from time to time, but as long as I focus on the why? I should be ok and time will tell. So you may be asking, what can I do to be a good dad? Here are 10 helpful tips I’ve implemented into my life and will continue to improve upon and remind myself of.

Be There as Much as Possible: Life can get pretty busy and hectic and all you want to do when you get home is take a moment to relax. I often feel this way after a long day, however just walking in the door to my daughter smiling and saying “dada, dada” re-energizes me.  I can’t help but to pick her up and ask her how her day was and spend some quality time with her. I want to take full advantage of this time I have with her before its too late. I want to say, as time goes by, that I always made it a point to be involved with their life and to be present.

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Show Respect for Their Mother: To me this couldn’t be more critical especially with raising a daughter. I treat my wife with absolute respect in the way I treat and interact with her, not just because I want to, but have the responsibility to do so. To be giving in all that you do and showing appreciation as well as gratitude for all that she does. I want my daughter to see what should be expected as she will eventually have relationships of her own. My hope is that she will set high standards for herself, to be confident with herself and not settle for anything less.

Let Them Know They are Loved: I would think that this would go without saying, but tell your child that you love them often. Show them that you care for them by spending the time to listen and talk with them. Let them know that they matter and are truly interested in who they are now and actively guiding them into the future. Have a daddy daughter day and go out and have fun getting to know them.

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Give Yourself Permission to be Goofy and Play with Them: My father was a perfect example of this. I believed that over time this helped me to just be myself. I do remember being embarrassed from time to time, but now look back and am grateful for having a father such as him. I now have him to thank for having no worries of being judged for acting goofy with my daughter anywhere or anytime. Outside of that, I can’t wait to take her out golfing or just having her participate in activities that I am interested and vice versa.

Take the Opportunities to Read Them Bedtime Stories: Since the first day we took our daughter home, my wife and I have been reading children’s books to our daughter just before bedtime. I think that this is not only important bonding time, but also a learning opportunity to provide them with the skill of reading. By reading to them consistently it will eventually become a habit for them to read and learn as they grow and to increase confidence in their ability.

Do you read to your child? Check out the top 10 children’s books and have your child pick one out. I bet you may remember a couple of these.

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How to Accomplish A Healthy Work Life Balance Part II:

In my last post I began discussing work life balance and some things you can do to start down that path to guide you in a positive direction. I haven’t always been the best at separating the two, but I can tell you that once I’ve refocused on what is truly more valuable to me, my overall happiness has increased. Sure I still have some rough days, but who doesn’t. The thing is you have to get after it and push yourself in order to benefit yourself, family and your profession. It will help you in the long run to focus in on maintaining a healthy work life balance both for your sanity and overall health and well-being.

Switch It Up: Routines are not a bad thing and I have a few, especially to start my day and really get going. However, if things start feeling repetitive or unproductive, switch it up and do things a little differently. Get some more or less face-to-face time with the people you work with, shut off your phone so you can focus on a project or family for that matter, or even wake up earlier in the day and take a moment for yourself and have a good cup of coffee. Plan some new activity to do in your free time with your friends and/or family.  Take a look at Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.”

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Look to the Future: Renew your purpose if you need to and set some goals for yourself. They don’t have to be life changing, start small and think of ways to improve your outlook moving forward. Improve your skills, experience something you’ve never done before but want to, and strive for a more fulfilling life. My mentor told me recently and roughly said, “in pursuit of your goals there will be obstructions that block your view and distract you from seeing your goal/s, you have to get past them and re-focus.” Make a list and get it done.

Stop Comparing Your Vision to Others: What works for someone else may not work for you, however it’s not a bad idea to ask for help to get started on your work life balance. Look for inspiration from others that seem to have it all figured out, such as co-workers or fellow peers, as they may be “a storehouse of great tips on how to greater balance ourselves.” My supervisor is my mentor and great person to bounce ideas off of when I feel I’m in a rut or stressed and vice versa. Find a mentor is what I would suggest as they are a great source of knowledge.

What’s your ideal work life balance? Everyone is unique, so find what works for you and get after it.

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How to Accomplish A Healthy Work Life Balance Part I:

With a full time job, pursuing my MBA and helping raise a little girl, I don’t always feel that I am able to keep it all in balance. It is a challenge and some weeks are better than others. Having a supportive wife at home definitely helps, but maintaining that through regular communication is key to having her stay on board. To have a mutual understanding of how your time is spent and to ensure there is quality time reserved just for your family to achieve balance between them and others that require your time. Time is a valuable commodity these days and it’s crucial to manage that time to get what you need to get done and for your overall well-being. How might you accomplish that?

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You Don’t Have to Be Perfect All the Time: What is important is that you put in a good faith effort in all that you do and “strive not for perfection, but for excellence.” As we age there is more that is required of our time and often responsible for. Keep raising the bar to improve, but balance your time. The main point is work hard for what you are seeking to achieve, but not to the point of exhaustion. Check out “The Office Survival Guide.”

Take a Time Out from TV and Your Phone: With how we are so connected now with technology it’s really easy to be checking your phone or catching up on your favorite programs. You have to leave some time yourself and your family and just be present with them. Play with your child and have a conversation with your spouse and spend some quality time with them. Check out “The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.”

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Exercise a Couple Times a Week: It’s not always just about getting fit or trying to improve your health. While those are great pursuits, the other benefit is just having an outlet to eliminate stress so that you can refocus on your job as well as family. I have strayed away from this from time to time, but once I get back to it, I am reminded of how good it feels to take a break and exercise for my mental well-being. Don’t think about it, get to it.

Make a List of Top 5 Things You Value Most: Take some time to think of what you value most such as quality time with family, a best friend, and what is most important to accomplish at work. Set some goals, focus and prioritize your time around them. When there seems to be so little time and a lot of things to do, it may make it easier for you to know what you can cut from your schedule and not waste time on things that really may not be that important.

What’s your top 5 look like? Get focused and strive for excellence.

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Why You Should Begin Teaching Your Kids Good Work Ethic Now

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I think that everyone can agree that having good work ethic is not only good to have, but necessary. Starting early and teaching your kids as early as possible gives them just that much more time to really understand what it means to have work ethic. Work ethic teaches them discipline, to do quality work, have integrity for what they do, that they are responsible for something, and to hopefully work as a team to achieve the desired outcome. By teaching them proper work ethic, you too are reminded of how important it is, as an adult in your profession, can always improve and be reminded of what is expected of both yourself and those you work with. It is necessary for a strong community both at home and within the workplace, it builds trust and signals to everyone around you that you are accountable and can be relied upon.

So how can you teach a two year old work ethic you might ask? There are quite a few things you can do in helping them understand the basic principles and help them to start building a strong foundation that they will last a lifetime. To lead themselves to a brighter more successful future and know their worth.

Provide Chores for them to do: Some of you may know what it’s like to have to have a metaphorical tornado cut a path through your living room as toys are scattered throughout your home or the pain of a Lego you just stepped on. Teach them to pick up after themselves after they are done playing with something. This will help them to learn responsibility as it is something that is expected of them and that you’re not going to just do it for them. It teaches discipline.

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Reward Them for Helping Out with Other Tasks: Chores are a requirement and are what is expected, however, you can give them extra things to do that you don’t yet expect of them and reward them for it. Working in the yard? Have them put the weeds in a bucket for you as you work as a team to accomplish something that is mutually beneficial to both of you, they learn teamwork.

Set a Good Example: Show them that you are consistent by doing what is expected of you as you expect of them to ensure there isn’t a double standard. Do what you say you are going to do and do it well; help them learn the value of doing something right and follow through on what you said you would do. We can’t just tell them, we have to show them with our actions.

Help Them Build Confidence: When they do something without you having to ask or something above and beyond what you expect of them, let them know that you are appreciative for what they have done with both praise and that you have taken notice. This encourages independence and that they are capable of doing something on their own or even creative in how they went about it. You can reward them, but keep in mind you don’t want them to expect it every time. Sometimes just your thanks and gratitude is all that is necessary.

Good Work Ethic Builds Character: By challenging them to figure things out on their own or by giving them something new to do can help build their resolve and determination when something may be hard to do, teach them to not give up. Teach them that doing something well or just putting in a solid effort isn’t just good form, but that what they accomplish and how they go about it is a reflection of who they are. Good work ethic in the end will provide them confidence to pursue anything they choose.

Are you teaching good work ethic? Please share your ideas.

 

Grandparents and Their Importance in Your Child’s Development

My mother and father have always been there for me. I may not have thought so at times during my younger years, but I have come to realize that all they wanted was the best for me. They provided me with the life skills, values and tools needed to make it on my own and lend a helping hand when needed. My grandparents were also very integral in my development and was fortunate enough have time to spend with them pretty regularly. I believe that spending time with grandparents is absolutely necessary for the full development of my daughter and do what I can to provide her with as many opportunities as possible to accommodate this, that and its just a good time being around them. Here are just a few benefits of grandparents participating in your child’s life and development.

IMG_3337Improve Behavior and Social Skills: According to research published by the American Psychological Association, stated that “spending time with a grandparent is linked with better social skills and fewer behavior problems.” By encouraging your child to have a relationship with their grandparents or at least one can be a good source of support as they more likely than not care for them as you do, and are someone who is outside the home and may offer a different perspective and understanding.

Can Be There to Lend an Ear: As my daughter gets older, as I am looking way into the
future here, I would like her to be able to confide in me and know that she can trust me to be there for her. However, I know there will most likely be times where that may not be the case. So hopefully she can look to her grandparents to listen to what she has to say, ask questions and know that she will get both. I have absolute faith in my parents to provide guidance and support. If anything, they are just fun to be around and personally, really fortunate to have them in my life.

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A Great Resource for Family History: I grew up in the small town of Poulsbo Washington and is also known as “little Norway” as it was settled by Norwegian immigrants and up until mid-1970’s continued to speak Norwegian as their primary language. My father has 100% Norwegian ancestry and began compiling our family’s over a decade ago along with getting video and recordings of my grandparents telling their story. With all of this information, my father has re-established relationships with our whole family as well as those that live in Stavanger Norway. Knowing where you came from can give one a stronger sense of self and identity in who you are as well as appreciate others and their ancestry. For me, its great to know my ancestors were Vikings.

Someone with a Wealth of Knowledge: One thing you hopefully have as your grow older is experience and wisdom. Grandparents have a lifetime of achievement, humor, tricks, learning, failure just to name a few. I am certain that once my daughter and her cousins are old enough, they would love to pass on that knowledge. It is a way for children to gain a different perspective and to learn new skills or ideas. “Knowledge, skills, and attitudes children pick up from grandparents tend to stick with them through life.”

Get to know your grandparents and encourage your children to know theirs.

Featured Image Photo Credit – my dad and wonderful grandfather

Want to Teach Your Child Grit & a Growth Mindset? 6 Helpful Insights Part II:

I like to think that I learned a little about grit and learning that I can get better and grow from my parents. My parents pushed me and continue to do so, but are also very supportive and always willing to lend and ear or provide wisdom. When I was 5 years old, my father taught me to slalom ski. In turn teaching me the value of effort both mentally and monetarily. He gave me $50 for successfully getting up. That was initially what pushed me to attempt the challenge, but once I accomplished the goal after days of trying and mouthfuls of water, I felt the thrill of accomplishment. I still feel that thrill as if it were yesterday and was probably my first real challenge I ever undertook. I have since learned to love the pain that sometimes comes with striving for a goal and the reward that usually follows. I want that for my daughter.

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Assist in helping set goals by instilling in them to learn, improve and how to plan out their goals. First thing is to start by setting out a goal they have in mind and working backwards on what they need to do in order to achieve that goal with smaller goals. These smaller goals can help them track or measure their progress and encourage them to keep pushing and working hard. It also teaches them to plan and the importance of planning ahead to ensure a better chance of success especially when challenged. The other thing to do is to encourage positive self-talk, which is just a good thing to keep in mind even for yourself as we will all inevitably face times of doubt and failure. As my mother always says, “you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Give up on the need to control and be there to support which allows for your child to have the opportunity to develop and grow for themselves. It’s important not to just do things for them because you’re not always going to be around and they need to learn how to do it for themselves. Letting them figure out things for themselves enables them to become more resourceful and self-sufficient which will serve them well as they become adults themselves and face challenges in their education, professional lives and potentially family.

Lead by being an example by how you conduct yourself as well as providing examples

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from your life and experiences. Keep in mind that as your kids grow all you can really do is be a good example and give them the tools to succeed, but in the end they will make their own choices, hopefully good ones, and will emulate and improve what you have taught and will teach them as you may have also done. I am always doing my best to be a better dad as I plan for the future and also want to set a good example by showing my daughter that I too am still continuing to grow, learn and push myself. Show her that you can accomplish many things and some even great if you don’t give up and everything will work itself out if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Look up Carol Dweck and read and see what she has to say about a growth mindset.

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Want to Teach Your Child Grit & a Growth Mindset? 6 Helpful Insights Part I:

Having just become a father within the past couple years, I want to be able to do my best and hopefully be able to guide my daughter, but at the same time, grow myself and become grittier. I’d like to think I will follow in my parent’s footsteps and maybe even improve upon what they taught me. Through my continuing education I have now been made aware of some concepts that will help in my future endeavors, but also see that they can be directly applied to my family. I was introduced to Angela Duckworth’s GRIT as well as Carol Dweck’s growth mindset. To get you started in applying it to both yourself and your child, here are 6 things to consider as a parent.

Don’t praise ability or intelligence as doing so may promote a “fixed mindset” when what you really want to be doing is promoting a “growth mindset.” Growth encourages some risk taking to challenge themselves and in turn will find more joy in what they are striving to do and more importantly, learn. So what should you do? Praise them for their effort and tenacity. Not only will they learn, but will also build confidence as they will gradually improve and get better at things through increased effort.

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Don’t ignore outcome, tie to effort by attributing their success and accomplishments to hard work. In learning something new or improving, the process of getting there leads to their progress. Even though my daughter is still very young, we can at least begin practicing on the small accomplishments such as overcoming the initial fear of something new like learning to swim and becoming acquainted with water.

Respond positively to failure by teaching them that failure can be a learning and teachable moment. Failure is all part of the process and can be built upon for future accomplishments because no one can really expect to be perfect right away. Again, this will build confidence as well as their grit as they move on through life. Real achievement doesn’t come easy and resilience comes from learning to get back up and continuing to follow through.

Want to know more about Grit? Read Angela Duckworth’s book GRIT.

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