How to Prepare for Fatherhood

Article By
Published On
11 Jun, 2023
Read Time
2 minutes

Mark Williams BCAh FRSA is a keynote speaker, author, and international mental health campaigner who lives in the UK.

Here, he shares some of his top tips for preparing to become a dad.

"Fatherhood is an incredible journey that brings with it a whole host of new duties and responsibilities...

Whether they're a biological dad, stepdad, or caregiver, father figures can play such an important role in their little one's lives and contribute a huge amount to their early development. So, it's important that dads are prepared, educated, and involved.

Being a father is a lifelong job and it can be the most enjoyable and rewarding journey.

Bonding may not be instant and that's totally ok. You will have tough days and sleepless nights, but when your baby is laying on you and you can smell them and hear their heartbeat you will hopefully realise that it's all so worth it."

Mark's tips for new dads

  • Don't underestimate the magic of touch. Skin-to-skin contact and being in tune with your baby can create a special bond and help build attachment.
  • If you're away from home talk to them over the phone and make videos for them to watch with your partner while you're away.
  • Quality time doesn't have to cost anything. Some of the most enjoyable bonding times I had with my son when he was little were free! Going for a walk and getting out of the house can be an exciting experience for dad and baby alike, you could try carrying your little one in a wrap, sling, or a backpack-style carrier. Bathtime can also be a lovely opportunity for dad and baby to bond.
  • Listen first, talk second. This has been such an important learning for me as a dad, and it's something I know my son will carry on if he decides to be a father.
  • Fathers are role models and teachers and should make sure that we're honest and respectful to help our children feel safe.
  • Sing, read, dance and play! These interactions are so important. Please don't worry about making a fool of yourself. Being silly shows your little one that you're not worried about what people think and that having fun is the most important thing. You soon find that you do the strangest things, just to make them laugh.
  • Show affection and give them plenty of hugs. This is the best way to let your children know that you love them and teaches them how to be affectionate to others.
  • It's ok to get things wrong. You can't know everything, and you won't get everything right the first time. I am still making mistakes as a dad, but we're able to talk about it together and move on stronger than before.
  • Boundaries are crucial for a child's overall well-being and discipline. But remember that you were also their age once, so be patient and don't sweat the small stuff!
  • I know from my own lived experience that the journey won't always be smooth, and I'd encourage any parent who feels like they're struggling to reach out for support. Even if you feel alone, you never are!