The Time of COVID-19
It’s June: Time to celebrate Dad!
In last June’s article, Childbirth Graphics looked at some of the many ways dads matter in the lives of their children. During this time of COVID-19, however, dads of infants and young children may find themselves dealing with totally unexpected, stressful, and uncertain circumstances, such as juggling changes in employment, concerns about getting essentials, and financial matters. For new fathers adapting to becoming parents for the first time, the changes may seem even more overwhelming.
Both moms and dads have a lot to deal with right now, but stay-at-home orders also have provided a welcome silver lining: There’s more family time as dads and moms may have the unexpected opportunity to spend more time at home. This June, as families celebrate Father’s Day, many babies and toddlers have been able to spend more time with their dads, and dads may have had the unexpected joys of spending more time with their young children.
Here at Childbirth Graphics, we create fatherhood education materials and educational resources for new parents that can help guide fathers and new parents through the early years of infant and child development and care. Read on as we offer tips for fathers to make the most of this unique stay-at-home time with their little ones, and discover a few of our engaging fatherhood education resources and educational materials for new parents.
Making the Most of Father and Baby Time
Even though work schedules may have changed, it’s important to create and maintain a calm, stable routine for young children so that they know what to expect next in their day. Whether Mom is just beginning to breastfeed or breastfeeding is well-established, dads can support breastfeeding by sharing in all other aspects of care, which can give Mom some much-needed time to rest. Sharing in the care, such as bathing, changing, cuddling, and rocking the baby, is a great way to create special daddy and baby time, when Dad can talk and sing to the baby or supervise play in the tub. Spending time with the baby also is a great way for Dad to help support Mom during the postpartum period, while she is recovering from labor and birth.
Set cover pregnancy through breastfeeding and the postpartum period.
Staying safe at home creates the perfect opportunity for Dad to get down on the floor and engage his baby in age-appropriate play. Dad can help strengthen his baby’s muscles and develop the baby’s motor skills by placing the baby on her tummy on the floor and then putting safe, age-appropriate toys nearby for the baby to reach. Dad can also have a dance party with his little one by putting on some music and holding his baby while gently swaying to the rhythm or dancing with an active toddler. Or, Dad can put on a song and dance fest by singing songs and making music with things around the house, such as pots and pans and rattles. For toddlers, Dad can use furniture cushions, sheets, and blankets to create fun tents and forts.
More time safe at home means more time to read to the baby. Dads can even read to very young babies. Reading to babies helps foster better reading skills and create a life-long love of reading and learning. Research also suggests that, while mothers tend to have more verbal interaction with their infants, fathers are more likely to introduce new words. Cloth books and picture books with thick pages are great first books for babies. As a baby gets older, Dad can help his baby build vocabulary by asking the baby to point to an object, such as a ball or toy, or to a body part, such as the nose or mouth.
and childhood development during a baby’s first year.
Taking Baby Outdoors
Stay-at-home directives don’t mean that fathers can’t take their babies and toddlers outside as long as they can practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from others and avoid touching surfaces others may have touched. Being outside in nature is great for babies as well as for Dad’s mental well-being. When in public outdoor spaces, keeping babies in a carrier or stroller is the safest option during this time of COVID-19. Children under the age of 2 should not wear face masks. Face masks for children older than 2 are not needed outdoors as long as children stay 6 feet from others. Parents should reconsider face coverings for older children if the masks may pose a choking or suffocation risk to a child or make a child touch his face more often.
Strollers and carriers make babies extremely portable! Taking his baby on a run or a walk is a great way for Dad to get some stress-relieving physical activity; have quality time while sharing the sights, sounds, and beauty of nature with his little one; and give Mom some special time for herself.
Taking Care of Each Other
During this unprecedented time, dads and their partners may be experiencing considerable stress and anxiety as they work to take care of their family in the midst of so much uncertainty. Parents should work together and talk out any concerns while sharing in the baby care so that they each can have some personal time to rest, connect with others remotely, and regroup. New fathers may want to see whether they can find an online support group for new dads during the coronavirus crisis. Like mothers, fathers can also experience postpartum depression, so it’s important for fathers to reach out to their healthcare professionals if they need help.
At Childbirth Graphics, we’ve created hundreds of effective and unique teaching tools dedicated to nurturing healthy babies and growing healthy families. To discover more of our fatherhood education guides, please visit our Fatherhood Educational Resources Section. For more of our parenthood education products that cover the early childhood period, please check out our Parenting Educational Materials Section.
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