Five Ways Dads Can Stop Missing Out


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Photo by Altanaka/Shutterstock

936 — the number of weeks we have between when our children are newborn and when they turn 18. That is not much time. I recently calculated that I only have 300 more weeks with my oldest until she officially becomes an adult. It reminded me to double down and get in the game as much as I can.

Did you know that 46 percent of fathers feel they spend too little time with their children (Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Study)? Sure, we are going to miss out on things, but we dads have to make every effort to be involved. We do not want to look back and wish we spent more time with our kids. Our involvement can have a positive impact on our kids academically, emotionally and behaviorally.

Here are five ways to get in the game before it’s too late:

Be Engaged

Is it just me or are there more time commitments and places we have to be with our kids compared to when we were growing up? Know when and where things are taking place and make every effort to attend them. Engagement applies at home, too. If your child wants to play or build something, do it then, not later. Focusing our attention pn them when we have conversations with them, for example, is another way to be more engaged. When we are fully engaged in their lives by focusing our attendance and our attention on them, it shows them we care, it shows them they can count on us to be there and it creates memories.

Get to Know Their Friends

Our kids spend up to one-third of their childhood surrounded by friends. Know who they are spending time with — online and offline — so you know that those kids are good influences in their lives. When we know who they are spending time with it helps us know when to step in to diffuse any problematic behaviors or actions before they start.

Be a Coach

Coaching can be intimidating and stressful, but the benefits include them seeing you lead, knowing you care and spending more of these precious weeks with them.

Listen Up

It's easy for us parents to control a conversation with our child because we may think we know more than our child due to our age or experience. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to just let our child talk. Listen and let them share what is on his or her mind. Ask questions, correct your child if necessary, and get eyeballs to eyeballs with him or her. If your child is telling a story, let him or her share it and you show your interest in your child's creative mind sharing. It's important for our children to know we are there to listen to them when they need to get something off their mind – big or small.

Be Adventurous

Going on adventures can be inspiring to all of us and can also be a great learning experience. It can be a simple visit to a new park or museum, or it can be a road trip to explore a new city. The key is your family is going on a journey of exploration together. In addition to learning and getting inspired, these fun adventures give us exercise, create fun memories and help build confidence within our children. So where is your next adventure going to be?

These are only five ways to be more involved as a dad. Being involved is worth the investment of your time and attention because it strengthens the relationship with your children and shapes their character as they grow. Being a dad is one of the most important roles we will ever have. We should always look for ways to get in the game.

Derek Polen is a father of two, author, and publisher of “Next Level Dad” and “A Money Saving Mindset."

 

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May 2017

Step back in time with a 19th-century costumed interpreter and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Registration encouraged online. Tickets available at the mill. ...

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Headlining the air show will be The Blue Angels, the US Navy’s premier aerial demonstration team, performing a myriad of precise formations and maneuvers in six distinctive blue and yellow...

Cost: $5/person

Where:
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
Martin St.
Goldsboro, NC  27531
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Website »

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Take part in a kids' triathlon that financially supports families fighting childhood cancer in the Triangle area at Duke Children’s and UNC Children’s hospitals. Ages 6-16. All...

Cost: $50/person

Where:
Chapel Hill Country Club
103 Lancaster Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Website »

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The Triangle's annual agricultural festival showcases animals, home grown food, family entertainment, music, antique farm equipment, carnival rides and more. Gate admission and parking are...

Where:
N.C. State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

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Create a beautiful work of art on an iPad. Learn to use two apps, one to create art and another one to fuse art and photography. Take an iPad so you can take your art home with...

Cost: $50

Where:
theCoderSchool
201 Davis Grove Circle
Cary, NC  27519
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Sponsor: theCoderSchool Cary
Telephone: 919-234-5193
Contact Name: Brandon Wright
Website »

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It's the day of the Great Race between Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is nowhere to be found. Ryder summons Marshall,...

Cost: $21 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Celebrate Artsplosure's 37th anniversary with exhibitors, large-scale visual art installations, live performances, a student art exhibition and much more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
, NC  27601


Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Use clues and observational skills to discover for yourself what object of the past is being displayed and what the artifact must have been used for historically.  All ages. Drop-in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy Haven House's 2nd Annual Battle of the Bags cornhole tournament fundraiser. Registration begins at noon and matches start promptly at 1 p.m. The event features a band,...

Cost: $50/team

Where:
Trophy Brewing and Taproom
656 Maywood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Haven House Services
Telephone: 919-833-3312
Contact Name: Shannon Walters
Website »

More information

Get in the driver's seat with a hands-on experience with vehicles of all kinds. Meet with local representatives and their vehicles from emergency, construction, landscaping, military,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Community Park
2200 Laura Duncan Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Town of Apex
Telephone: 919-249-3507
Contact Name: Allie Prelaske
Website »

More information

Enjoy finger-picking, toe-tapping bluegrass music for young musicians. Get an up-close look at instruments and make a scrap-instrument to take home.

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

More information

See a ballet production performed by Raleigh Dance Theatre with the Triangle Youth Phiharmonic. The performance also features "A Lesson in...

Cost: $15 advance tickets, $18 at the door

Where:
Meredith College, Jones Auditorium
3800 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

It's the day of the Great Race between Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is nowhere to be found. Ryder summons Marshall,...

Cost: $21 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the story of a woman born to be free who captures the hearts and souls of the men who love her. The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle performs live music to accompany the ballet. Purchase...

Cost: $30-$89

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Ballet
Telephone: 919-719-0900
Website »

More information

Ages 5-8 embrace science and nature while developing skills and knowledge about the natural world. Register online.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

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Triangle Jewish Chorale Concert  Leonard Bernstein: An American Original   The Triangle Jewish Chorale pays tribute to Leonard Bernstein, the preeminent conductor, composer and pianist,...

Cost: Free. Donations welcome.

Where:
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
1200 W. Cornwallis Rd.
Durham, NC
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Sponsor: Triangle Jewish Chorale
Telephone: 919 881 8520
Contact Name: Annie Lang
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See a ballet production performed by Raleigh Dance Theatre with the Triangle Youth Phiharmonic. The performance also features "A Lesson in...

Cost: $15 advance tickets, $18 at the door

Where:
Meredith College, Jones Auditorium
3800 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Be Active Kids hosts the Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute. Experts from across the country discuss physical activity for young children. The event begins with an opening session of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Sponsor: Be Active Kids
Telephone: 919-287-7012
Contact Name: Evie Houtz
Website »

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Ages 3-5 enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Website »

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Make a craft inspired by nature. Materials provided. Al ages with adult. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

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Learn how to help your baby excel in motor development. This class focuses on tummy time. Whether your infant needs help learning to enjoy tummy time or find his way to hands and knees for...

Cost: $15

Where:
Baby + Co
226 Ashville Ave.
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Read the story by Lois Ehlert and explore the world of squirrels. Ages 18 mos-3 yrs with adult. Register online. 

Cost: $2/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Website »

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Learn about the different parts of trees and their purpose, why trees are an important resource, and how to identify some of the most common trees in North Carolina. Make tree "cookies,"...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

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Ages 5-12 learn about healthy fruits and vegetables, kitchen and food safety, and enjoy a healthy snack. Meet in the bakery side of the cafe. Email sherry.thrasher@wholefoods.com to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods North Raleigh
8710 Six Forks Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Telephone: 919-354-0350
Contact Name: Sherry Thrasher

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Enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South
Telephone: 919-831-6941
Website »

More information

See the incredible story behind one of the world's most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers. Appropriate...

Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

See the incredible story behind one of the world's most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers. Appropriate...

Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South
Telephone: 919-831-6941
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Enjoy the outdoors with a story read aloud in the gardens. Nature-themed stories are followed by a related activity or garden walk. Ages 3-5. Meet in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden Story...

Cost: Free. Parking fees apply

Where:
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Telephone: 919-668-1707
Website »

More information

Ages 2-6 and adult enjoy a craft, games, songs, stories and a guided walk through the wetland. Register online. Choose course #203549.  

Cost: $3

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South
Telephone: 919-831-6941
Website »

More information

See the incredible story behind one of the world's most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers. Appropriate...

Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Parent and child explore the gardens together to find the perfect spot to spread a picnic blanket for garden stories and crafts. Ages 3-5. Program begins at the Bobby G. Wilder...

Cost: $5/nonmembers. Free for members

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Enjoy a leisurely early evening stroll along the trail to the Beaver Creek Bridge. Observe the natural world and take in some amazing views of the wetland. Take binoculars and a water bottle. All...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Alden Early
Website »

More information

Enjoy May Arts Night, featuring new exhibits in the Allenton and Semans Gallery, a pop-up gallery of work from the current Durham Convention Center exhibit, crafts for kids and performances by...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
Website »

More information

Use recycled shoe boxes and nature magazines to create a one-of-kind keepsake box. Take an empty shoe or similar-sized box. Ages 6-12. Register online. Choose course #203568.

Cost: $1/child

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Local blues icon Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojos with John Dee Holeman perform a free, family-friendly concert. Enjoy local eats and drinks from Baton Rouge Cuisine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northgate Mall
1058 W. Club Blvd.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Northgate Mall
Telephone: 919-286-4407
Website »

More information

Enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South
Telephone: 919-831-6941
Website »

More information

See the incredible story behind one of the world's most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers. Appropriate...

Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

This Memorial Day, honor those who have served our nation as Project Uplift USA hosts the annual WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest at Fleming Loop Park in Fuquay-Varina. See 35 hot air balloons...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fleming Loop Park
2321 N. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Hear some of "The Wind in the Willows" story while making a crafty model boat to test on the pond. Pose for pictures with the Mill Pond Regatta. Ages 6 and older...

Cost: $2/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take a 30-minute tour to view the main power drive and milling machinery. Tickets available inside the park's visitor center.

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12/adult, $10/child

Where:
New Hope Valley Railway
3900 Bonsal Rd.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Website »

More information

See the incredible story behind one of the world's most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers. Appropriate...

Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South
Telephone: 919-831-6941
Website »

More information

Learn canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history. Ages 5 and older with adult. Advance registration required online.

Cost: $10/boat

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Help kick off the NCBA World Series with a Fan Fest and Long Ball Challenge. Food, fun and representatives from the Carolina Hurricanes, Durham Bulls, NCFC, NC Courage and...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Main Athletic Complex
1151 N. Main St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, Town of Holly Springs, NCBA, Holly Springs Salamanders, GRSA, GMA Supply
Telephone: 919-567-1796
Contact Name: Karen Shore
Website »

More information

Enjoy the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South
Telephone: 919-831-6941
Website »

More information

See the incredible story behind one of the world's most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers. Appropriate...

Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

This Memorial Day, honor those who have served our nation as Project Uplift USA hosts the annual WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest at Fleming Loop Park in Fuquay-Varina. See 35 hot...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fleming Loop Park
2321 N. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Website »

More information

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