We are excited to introduce our first Dad contributor on Kidding Around Greenville, Robert Neely. As a dad of twins, we are sure that he will have plenty of great tips for all of us. His first post is written specifically for those dads out there with Robert’s tips for how dads can set up their families for success in the morning before the work day starts.
Life can get a little crazy at our house, thanks to our 14-month-old boy/girl twins. My wife takes on the huge responsibility of caring for the twins all day while I’m at work. That’s a big job, and I want to do everything I can to help even though I have to be at work most of the day.
So before I head off to work in the morning, my goal is to set my family up for success for the day.
The morning routine
My first goal every morning is to get the twins up, changed, dressed and fed. This gives me a little bit of awesome quality time with the kids, while giving my wife a few minutes to get dressed and ready. It means getting up a few minutes earlier on my part, but it’s totally worth it.
Being a part of the kids’ morning routine is something just about every dad can do.
Tasks to be done
What else should you do? Sorry guys—there’s not one set answer. You need to pay attention to what your wife and kids need, and how it’s changing as your kids mature.
When our twins were newborns, about the most important thing I could do in the mornings was put their dirty clothes in the wash. They went through so many onesies, burp cloths, and blankets that we had to wash them every day. If I could get them started in the morning, it was much easier for my wife to get them into the dryer when one or both baby napped.
During these crazy times, when we hadn’t yet gotten our twins onto the same schedule, I also made my wife a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That way, if she only could get one hand free to eat while caring for one twin or the other, she had some protein at hand.
Once our twins reached bottle stage, loading the dishwasher became my morning priority. We had to run the dishwasher every day to keep up with the bottles our twins ate, and the best rhythm for us was to wash the dishes when we went to bed so they were all clean to start a new day.
Now we’re past the bottle stage, and our twins typically nap at the same time. This means that what needs to be done can change from day to day. Sometimes it’s making sure the stroller is in the right car. At other times it’s helping to cut up some food for the twins’ lunch.
And it’s always worth stopping to change a dirty diaper before you leave. Sometimes it seems like our twins have a sixth sense for when I’m leaving and time things for 10 minutes before, but that’s OK. I try to look at it as one or two less dirty diapers for my wife to deal with for the day.
What your family needs will be different. You might have one child, or five. Older kids will undoubtedly require different kinds of help—school lunches, homework checks, and other things our family hasn’t yet experienced.
The secret of your success
So the key is watching and listening. Ask your wife what she needs, rather than guessing. Believe me, she’ll know. And she’ll appreciate you proactively looking for ways to help, instead of waiting until you’re asked.
Watch your kids, and ask them too if they can talk. They’ll tell and show you what they need.
Approaching the day with the goal of setting your family up for success—based on what you’ve seen and heard—points the whole family in the right direction every morning.
And that will help everyone (including dad) have a better day.
What tips do you have for dads setting their families up for success in the morning?
Photos by J. Wingreen Photography.