Imagine yourself sitting at the pool on a surprisingly nice summer afternoon. You’re scrolling through your social feeds, listening to your favorite Pandora station, and BAM it hits right in the ear!
Your kids do.
What kind of kid hits their parent in the ear? Better yet, what kind of parent raises a kid who would do such a thing?
Ok, we’ll they didn’t actually hit me in the ear. It was the sound of high pitch whining (you know, like nails on the chalkboard) which just pushes your buttons to the next level.
And it was over why big brother’s foot was touching his pool chair.
How do you maintain your sanity?
How do you survive?
One thing I do know, there’s a special place in heaven for pre-school and elementary teachers!
There are many days when the struggle is all too real for stay home dads. In order to alleviate the stress and headaches which arise, here are seven keys for a successful daddy day care:
- Get up before they get up. This can be hard to do if your kids sleep like mine do. (I think the latest my boys have ever slept in is like 8:00am. Not kidding.) It’s like the flight attendant says during the pre-flight instructions: “PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST”. Waking up before the kids get up and reading, working out, drinking a cup of coffee, or whatever it is…do something for yourself first. Be selfish in the morning before they get up, so you can wait on those little minions hand and foot like they inevitably ask.
- Lock Yourself in the Bathroom. Not kidding. Do it if you haven’t already, but I suspect many of you are on to this savvy technique. Sometimes you just need five minutes to think, or maybe not have anyone need or want something from you. Or maybe you just want to get away from the “he started it” fighting and catch your breath. When you need a break, lock yourself in the bathroom for a few, even if you don’t have to go. AND if you do…well call the little boogers over and tell them you have a secret, put them in the bathroom and then close the door. When they scream they can’t take the smell anymore, just smile and say “Payback!”
- Be a Daddy Monster! My boys’ favorite game to play in the pool or at the park is “Daddy Monster”. It’s a very sophisticated game with many complex rules. But if you’re up for it, here’s how you play: You’re the monster and you chase them and try to get them. Yep, that’s it. I know…but they love it! In daddy day care, you just have to let your guard down, have fun, and get on their level. They’ll remember it and love you for it!
- Let the house get dirty. My wife likes a clean house. She likes all of our boys 100,000 toys to be (neatly) put away and you get the idea…You can spend an hour cleaning the house and those little wolverines will come behind you and destroy it in less time than it takes to toast them a waffle. I’ve learned to just let them destroy the house and then quickly clean it up before mom gets home at the end of the day. It’s kind of like in college when you through everything into the closet and quickly vacuumed before your girlfriend came over, only slightly more sophisticated now!
- House swap with neighbors and friends. I hope you’re lucky enough to have great neighbors and friends like we do! If your kids play together be willing to let their friends all come up to your house to play. Most likely, they’ll all police themselves and get along just fine. But the real payoff is when your kids go down or over to their friends’ house and you get the sweet, sweet bliss of a quiet house!
- Let them pick! Unless you really have important plans, does it really matter what you do? For me, it’s hard to not have a schedule of what to do and when we’re going to do it. But I’ve learned my kids love it when we just randomly do things. They love it even more when they get to choose. This goes for lunches and snacks sometimes too. Sometimes it’s just better to not fight those battles. I have to remind myself to let them just be kids sometimes and that I’m going to really miss these ages once they’re teens!
- Go on adventures! Don’t stay at or in your house. My wife and I are very active and love the outdoors. My father-in-law said something pretty wise on our recent vacation to Colorado. He said, “They will like and do what you like and do.” Our kids watch us and listen (yes, I know it’s rare lol), but they end up enjoying the same activities and hobbies we do more often than not. Don’t let your kids sit around all day and play Minecraft or watch YouTube. Take them hiking, be a regular at the pool, visit local zoos, go to the library, play at playgrounds. Whatever you do, do it with them and you’ll make memories for a lifetime!
Tag and share this with those great dads running their own Daddy Day Care!
What would you add to my list?
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.