10 Ways To Be An Engaged Dad With Limited Time (Plus $100 JORD Watch Giveaway!)

10:56 PM

I recently interviewed my husband for this Jord Watch article collaboration about celebrating amazing fathers. My husband is an amazing husband not because he is perfect and never makes mistakes but because he keeps trying to be a good dad the best way he knows how day after day even while working two jobs. 

So for this article I took to asking the closest expert to good fatherhood I know "how do you try to be an engaged father when you have very limited time and are away from your kids so much?"
 These are his nine tips he wishes he could share with all dads who are struggling to engage and make connections with their kids because they are gone so much:

Brandon DeLeeuw (My Husband) Bio: Juvenile Justice counselor for 10 years, multiple degrees and educational training in social science and child behavior, dad for 14 years, good guy for his entire life. 

root beer drinking contest
1. Find Fun: Make everyday chores and errands fun, approach daily household responsibilities with a positive attitude. Sometimes by the time dad gets home we are all rushing around trying to get last minute chores, homework, and bedtime routines done before it past bedtime. It can be chaotic and stressful trying to get important things done while trying to get kids to sleep on time, so they are functional for the next day. Sometimes the only time you have with your kids that day is bedtime so make it count. Don't spend that time being stressed or in a mad rush, turn bedtime into a game, play calming music to set the mood for sleeping, learn a new lullaby to sing to them, read a bedtime story to your kid no matter how old they are. Find ways to put in the fun in everyday moments, look for opportunities to play and have fun with your kids.

dad won root beer contest
2. Work & Serve Together: As adults we have many areas of responsibility not just work and parenting. We also have our community and other interest too. In order to try to balance some of those things we try to include our kids in anyway we can. My husband is great about always taking at least one kid if he is running an errand. Whether its the grocery store or the auto shop there is a kid in tow. Short little errand drives are great ways to fit in a fun little conversations and check ins. We also always try to have our kids work along side us when we are working in the yard, on the house or doing service for someone in our community. Find any and all reasons to include your kids in your extra curricular actives. You are teaching them valuable skills, community awareness, service, while also making memories together.

3. Down Time With Your Kids: If you are in bad need of some major down time when you get home from a long day or week at work, pick the kind of downtime that you can do with your kids. Read a book out loud together on the couch, take a relaxing swim with your kids at a local swim center, spread a blanket out on the lawn and just lay out or play a few card games, or even picking a fun phone game that your kid would love to play with you. Explore different relaxing activities and find some that are right for you and your family that you can all do together.

4. Be present: Put down your phone and be present with your child for an hour or two with no distractions. Make a huge effort to reduce your personal screen time. If your kid and your are in bad need of some face to face time and your are zoning out on phone, there are some readjustments that need to be made. You could even go as far as having a screen free night once a week and designate that time to family night. You will be amazed at how much more time you actually have available when you put away all the tech, and find you have more time for the important moments in your life.

duck race table game with dad
5. Make it a date: Plan regular date night with your kids. It doesn't have to be extravagant or anything expensive but scheduling a regular time and date with your kids even if its once a month is a great way to make memories and lets your kids know how important they are to you. My husband likes to have a big sleep over date night at least once a month with the kids where they watch movies till late, eat popcorn and all fall asleep on the couch and floor together. He usually doesn't get much sleep (even though he is the first to nod off) but the kids LOVE it and say its their favorite thing that dad does with them. Its simple and easy but makes a big impact.

6. Mindset Switch: Something that really helps our family thrive and work better is when dad comes home from a long day at work and when he walks in the door he quickly asks what he needs to do to help.  Brandon (my husband) wasn't always this way, just a few short years ago is was kind of a battle when he got home. He was always frustrated that things were always so chaotic when he got home from work, the house was messy despite our best efforts and I was so frazzled trying to fit in my work at home job while also try to take care of two tween boys a baby and a toddler. We were just so off. Then one day my husband came home and just jumped into the chaos instead of resisting it and asked me where I needed him most. That was a major game changer. I asked my husband about this and he said he knew he need to make a change with his expectations and attitude. He knew he needed to embrace the chaos and try to be more open and helpful when he got home. So now on the few days where it is not a circus when he walk in the door he can enjoy it more like a special treat. The kids and I are way less stressed when dad gets home and look forward to the extra help and sanity he brings through the door. 

7. Special Occasion Priority: If your kid has a concert, birthday, prom, or any other big event make sure you do everything in your power to be there. Try and get time off work if you have to, or trade shift with other people. If you can't be there for every single big occasion for your kid at least be there for half of them. Be the kind of dad that doesn't make promises he can't keep and if he does make a promise you can trust he will be there. 

8. Engage In Their Interest: Don't just spend time doing activities you like as a dad but try to get into some of their interests as well. You don't have to get into everything they like just find one or two things you both enjoy and try to invest time in those thing together. We recently learned how to play Dungeons and Dragons with our teenage sons because we heard teenage boys seem to like this game. Our teenage sons have never played D&D either so we thought it might be something we could all learn how to play together and its been a blast! I did not think I would like it as much as I do. My husband is the game master and sets all the rules. We play on Sunday nights as a family and its been going strong for about two months now and we still love it. Both of my sons at different times have come up to their dad and thanked him for playing Dungeons and Dragons with them and expressed how much they love playing with their parents in the creative imaginative game. Maybe you don't have a lot of hobbies in common but that doesn't mean you can't find one.

brother and husband playing old fashioned wrestling game
9. Validate Your Child: Nothing will make your kid feel closer to you than validating your kids feelings and making that a priority in how you respond to them. Connect with your kid by trying to understand them on their level and seeing the world through their eyes. You don't have to fix everything for them, sometimes they just need you to tell them you understand what they are feeling and they are not alone in that feeling, that you have felt that way before or gone through something similar. Maybe try asking them what they think they are going to do to get through that difficult situation, let them lead, give them the opportunity to figure things out or to ask for your advice first. Because the truth is they might not need our advice, just our company. 

10. Lean on your Dad Super Power: Every dad has a dad superpower, something he is really good at when it comes to being a dad, that is your superpower and has been given to you to use throughout your parenting. Use it! Are you a fun playful dad, use it. Are you great at listening? use it! Are you great at teaching your kids and doing projects together, do that! You don't have to be the perfect dad at everything to be a great asset to your kids. Be generous by passing on your wisdom and talents to your children. You are already the kind of dad you kids need you to be.

There are things we regret as a parent, there are already memories we never got to make because time just went by too fast and we had to make some hard practical choices but we are trying our hardest and showing up willing to try some more and that is what counts. Your kids don't need you to be the perfect dad they just need you to be an engaging present one who makes a regular effort that they can count on. 

I wanted to give a big thank you to the JORD watch company for collaborating with me on this blog post idea and for treating my husband to this CONWAY Kosso & Midnight Blue watch. He loves wearing this special occasion watch whenever he can. He gets so many compliments from people about his gorgeous statement piece watch whether out at a restaurant or at the office. My husband says its his most favorite watch he has ever had in his life and hopes to be a Jord watch wearer for life. I love seeing this amazing husband and father feel good and confident. He works so hard and deserves to feel spoiled and special because that is how he makes his family feel. 

JORD is a hand crafted wood watch company for men and women that is based out of St. Lous. A lot of their time pieces are made out of reclaimed wood with quality craftsmanship you won't believe until you see one on for yourselves. Each of their watches can be engraved and the size customized, plus each watch has a one year warranty and free worldwide shipping. 

Enter to win $100 gift code to spend toward your very own JORD wood watch by clicking on this link to go over to my personalize contest page at wood watches.com here. You will fill out a quick questionnaire asking you which watch you would like. Everyone who enters gets a 10% off discount code and one luck winner will receive $100 to spend towards a JORD watch of their choice.

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