Jaco van Schalkwyk

The gift of dadhood

Being a father

Being a dad is one of the greatest blessings you can experience. But, sadly, very few of us grew up with positive male role models in our lives. As a result, we stumble through the gift of fatherhood lacking confidence and feeling insecure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to carve out some special dad-moments during an otherwise difficult time.

Five free activities to cultivate connection

As a dad you can help teach your children important values for life. Here are five ideas for things you can do with your them to build connection and instil values. Each activity idea focuses on a different value.

Hopefully, these activities will leave you and your children with some great memories and life lessons. You can adapt them for depending on your child’s age and don’t worry about being silly, kids love that!

Day 1: Self discipline

Start by making a Superman sign with “S-D” on it. Or, cut the letters out and pin them to your t-shirt. Get your children to choose one superhero exercise that you can do together, like push ups. Put on some music and pretend you are at your own gym – run with that theme and go crazy. Exercising together is a fun way to encourage self-discipline with kids.

Day 2: Courage

Make a big “C” for your shirts. Your children get to live their own fantasy world with dad. Who doesn’t like pretending to be a superhero? Over breakfast ask your kids to name three things they are scared of. Share some of your fears too. The idea is to identify and share fears so that children see them as normal and okay, but also that together you can talk about how best to face and overcome them.

Day 3: Kindness

Teaching children kindness, especially to others who may not be as fortunate as them, helps them see the humanity and value of all the people they encounter, and treat people well in response. As a “team” pack a bag with some food. Together, give these items to someone in need (safety and social distancing protocols observed, of course).

Day 4: Respect

Ask your child to choose three things they would really love someone to do for them. For example, a hug, bedtime story, etc. Then ask your child to do one of those things for you, or their sibling or another relative. This can help emphasise that we should do for others what we would like them to do for us.

Day 5: Honesty

End the five-day adventure doing something special together. If you have a garden, put together a picnic, or have it in the house if you don’t. You could share a sandwich or ice-cream together. Encourage your child to tell you what they enjoyed most and least during the week, and why. Being honest with the people you love is an important value for children to learn.

Jaco van Schalkwyk

Jaco is the Dad and Founder of the Character Company. He is married to Loraine and the proud father of three daughters.

Connect with him on Facebook at the Character Company

Latest

The first 1000 days

Read more

You may also like

Heartlines

Choosing to write a new story: becoming a parent after a difficult childhood


After a challenging childhood, Quinton Pretorius and his wife have chosen to raise their children in a radically different way.

Read more

Teaching first time dads to change nappies

A BBC News story about a midwife in Nigeria who is finding creative ways to support men as they become fathers.

Read more
Heartlines

Discipline to equip, not to punish

Sonke Gender Justice MenCare Facilitator, Suleiman Henry, shares practical tips for dads on disciplining their children.

Read more
Heartlines

When the mind struggles, the body lets you know

Many people are unaware that their persisting physical symptoms may have a psychological cause. It is more common to treat the symptoms with medicine, rather than deal with the real issue.

Read more
Heartlines

Practical tips for working through hard emotions

We spoke to some experts to get helpful tools for when you are feeling overwhelmed or that your emotions are out of control and affecting the people around you.

Read more
Heartlines

What to do with your feelings when everything is not ok

It's difficult for men to be vulnerable when life is hard. We look at some of the ways men typically respond when life is challenging, especially when they lose a job or source of income.

Read more