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Should Dad Babysit? Issue 390
September 04, 2015
Hi there! ....

I set aside this week to focus on a blogging project - so I've been a bit distracted. My head is so full of technological bits it gets a bit fuzzy at times. I have literally forgotten to cook dinner three times this week! But everyone has survived. The coming week may be much the same!

On the homeschooling front - Daniel has spent a lot of time this week finishing off a short story he has written. He also looked into self-publishing and learnt so much about all that is involved - from ISBN numbers, to cover design. I have asked that he continues to look at his Bible Study and Math each day. He is also learning to use Blender - a software that creates 3D images, animations and games.

This week my kids watched one of their friends perform a song on video - and the comment was "so much talent in that family". And that is true - there is so much talent in that family. But you know why? Because they have encouraged each of their children to pursue things that are interesting to them. Their encouragement hasn't just been words - its been providing opportunities that inspire, they've found instruction that suits that individual child, and they've given - or rather made - opportunities for their kids to practice and get involve in that area of love. Be it music, animation, dance. Now that sounds all very arty - and I'm not just talking about arty pursuits - Our Joshua's pursuit was history and philosophy. While my girls were creating he was reading. I know a young boy and his passion is inventing - and he's made some pretty neat stuff. Another is computer technology or our friends who are passionate about horse shows or bird breeding.

Can I encourage you today to give your children the things they need to enjoy their passions.

This week I'm sharing a blog post on Should Dad Babysit?, you can read it below or click over and read on my blog.

Live life with your Kids!

Should Dad Babysit?

Should dads babysit?


Early on in our parenting life I found myself struggling with having to ask Peter to baby-sit the children.  It stuck uncomfortable somewhere.


This was my internal conversation:  We are both parents and I don’t babysit them - I care for them - day in and day out.  Pete too was the parent - why did he babysit them?


Babysitting has some hidden presumptions

  • The children are not the babysitters long term responsibility
  • Therefore the babysitter does just what has to be done to keep everyone happy
  • Baby-sitting is a job, which can be accepted or declined – babysitting is only done when the babysitter is available
  • There is some reward for babysitting (even if it is just praise or brownie points)

This does not sound like parenting - not one bit!


I realised that Dad babysitting the kids was a cultural language thing; it was something we said, something we did without thinking.  I started thinking!  I decided to change my language.  I stopped asking Pete to babysit the kids.  I started asking him if he was free to have the kids?  Bit by bit our language started to change.  Bit by bit our expectations started to change.  No longer was Pete occasional care, no longer was he just keeping them happy till mum got home.  He was being the Dad.


I am constantly amazed at what language does for our behaviour.  This is one of those situations: we need to use the right language for what is in our hearts.


We may acknowledge that Dad is the father, that he is involved in their lives, that he spends time with them, that he has a heart towards them, or is responsible for them.  We unconsciously undo all that when we ask him to babysit; when we ask him to disengage from being a parent, and take on part time, short term responsibility for their own kids!


The challenge to many mums though if we start changing our language we cannot relate to our husband as a babysitter; we cannot dish out expectations and we certainly cannot be upset with what went down while we were out of the house.  I remember a friend telling the story where she had the day to herself and the kids spent the day with Dad – she came home to find that they were still in their Pjays – but not only that – they had spent the day in the city!!  It was a challenge to let go of the internal scream – WHAT??!!  The important thing was - they had spent the day with their dad.


It is a challenge to many dads to pick up responsibility this way. They can feel intimidated or underprepared because they don’t spend as much time with the kids as mum does.  Just as mum’s need to let go of control, dads need to pick up responsibility and not hide behind part-time care.


There were two reasons why Pete took full responsibility for the kids for an extended period of time (that is, with me out of the house, or with him out about without me)

  1. To spend time with his kids
  2. To let me have some quiet refreshing time without the kids

Both are necessary in a family – one is Dad being a parent, the other is husband blessing his wife.


Just because Dad isn’t babysitting doesn’t mean that Mum can’t prepare the way so things go well – especially if this is a new habit you are building in your family.  In most situations mum is the one who spends most time with the kids, she knows things that Dad may not.  She can help Dad and kid’s time together be a success – not because he is the babysitter, but because they are in this parenting thing together - which means that where there is a weakness in one, the strength of the other will help them.  Mum – we may well be the strongest in terms of knowing the day to day parenting but Dads don’t need to babysit to be part of the team – they just need to be the Dad.

Other blog posts I've written recently:
A Defining Moment - It is in our Response Looking at what has defined me.

Sharing our family camping photos

10 things that lead to irresponsibility

also sharing a post from the archives: Top 10 simple meals because, like I said, this week I've forgotten to prepare dinner!!

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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