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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Calendar

February 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

More information

Join park staff in collecting data for the 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We will look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, and keep track of how many individuals of each species...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville , NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Enjoy a free slideshow of the birds of Yates Mill Pond. Over 150 photographs of birds are featured in the show, along with a few mammals. This slideshow, which has accompanying...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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
View map »


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

More information

The Wake County New Vehicle Dealers Association brings the world of cars and trucks to Raleigh. See hybrids, electric cars, SUVs, compacts, luxury vehicles and more. At the expo, the Carolina...

Cost: $10/adult, $5/preteen. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Dorton Arena
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parent and child spend time collaborating in a playful workshop that weaves music, color and improvisation. All ages. RSVP required by emailing admissions@studioschooldurham.org.

Cost: Free

Where:
Studio School of Durham
1201 W. Woodcroft Pkwy.
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Sponsor: Studio School of Durham
Contact Name: Danielle Clark
Website »

More information

Celebrate Black and African-American artists and stories. Ages 5-11 and caregiver.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

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 »

More information

Meet the farm's beloved animals and enjoy a Valentine's photo with you and a favorite goat. Meet Peppa Pig, feed the horses and more. Kids can ride the Valentines Express Tractor...

Cost: $10/person; free for ages 3 and younger

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Website »

More information

Shop for gently used children's clothing, juniors', ladies', and teen boys' clothing, toys, educational materials, infant equipment, nursery furniture, maternity wear and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
Website »

More information

Carolina Ballet presents Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, dueling families, intrigue, deception and a tragic twist of fate. Dramatic sword fights, stunning costumes and...

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Carolina Ballet presents Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, dueling families, intrigue, deception and a tragic twist of fate. Dramatic sword fights, stunning costumes and...

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Carolina Ballet presents Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, dueling families, intrigue, deception and a tragic twist of fate. Dramatic sword fights, stunning costumes and...

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join a park naturalist on a one-mile hike around Yates Mill Pond and help to identify and count the birds that we see along the way. Learn how to identify backyard birds by sight, sound and other...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn about the use of birds in national symbols and make your own bird-themed Great Seal to take home. Drop-in program. All ages. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy a free slideshow of the birds of Yates Mill Pond. Over 150 photographs of birds are featured in the show, along with a few mammals. This slideshow, which has accompanying...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Join park staff in collecting data for the 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We will look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, and keep track of how many individuals of each species...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville , NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Search for common birds of the park and count them along the way. Practice using binoculars and learn how to identify these animals by shape and color.  All ages with adult....

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Shop for gently used children's clothing, juniors', ladies', and teen boys' clothing, toys, educational materials, infant equipment, nursery furniture, maternity wear and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
Website »

More information

Take the fast track to nature in this hands-on study of ecology. Ages 8-12. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join park staff for games and activities in celebration of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Ages 5 and older. Register online. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Create a bird. Materials provided. All ages with adult. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

There are many kinds of raptors or birds of prey that call Harris Lake County Park home. Some stay all year like the Bald Eagle and others like the Osprey live here only part of the year. Discover...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New HIll, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

There are many kinds of raptors or birds of prey that call Harris Lake County Park home. Some stay all year like the Bald Eagle and others like the Osprey live here only part of the year. Discover...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919.387.4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Spend the afternoon learning about birds and bird conservation. Go on a bird behavior scavenger hunt, play the migration game, and learn how to identify common species on the lake and at a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take part in an Open Studio Exploration. Children are invited to use the materials in the studio to create at their own pace. Parents and caregivers participate by helping children achieve...

Cost: Free

Where:
Our PlayHouse Preschool
3501 Highway 54 W.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Our PlayHouse Preschool
Telephone: (919) 967-2700
Contact Name: Elizabeth Lenn
Website »

More information

Get snug in the farmhouse and listen to a nature story. Explore nature items and make a themed craft. Ages 3-5 with caregiver. Advance registration required online. Choose course #215883.

Cost: $2/person

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Support the American Red Cross by making thank-you cards for its staff and volunteers. Ages 11 and older. Register online. Choose course code #111616.

Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center Ballroom
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

See L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel "Anne of Green Gables" come to life in this stage adaptation by Peter DeLaurier. Enjoy the misadventures of Anne Shirley, a...

Cost: $12/adult, $6/ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn how to help your baby excel in motor development and master standing, cruising, and first steps. The class will look at standing from the earliest stages, all the way through learning how to...

Cost: $30

Where:
Baby + Company
226 Ashville Ave
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Telephone: 773-495-8117
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Read "Secret Pizza Party" by Adam Rubin and make personalized pizzas. Register online. Choose course #109612.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


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

Ages 5 and older enjoy an astronomy program that begins with an indoor presentation and moves outdoors after sunset to view the moon, stars, and more with the preserve's telescope,...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Historic Stagville and Morehead Planetarium will present a stellar program that focuses on the astronomy and night sky myths and legends told in African cultures, as well as the related stories...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Hwy.
Durham, NC  27712
View map »


Telephone: 919-620-0120
Website »

More information

See L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel "Anne of Green Gables" come to life in this stage adaptation by Peter DeLaurier. Enjoy the misadventures of Anne Shirley, a...

Cost: $12/adult, $6/ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

Explore the imagination behind the creation of riveting novels as D.G. Martin, of UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch,” hosts a candid conversation between top-selling authors John...

Cost: $45-$175

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


Telephone: 919.996.8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Relive the magical adventure of Harry Potter's second year at school like never before. This concert features "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" in high-definition while...

Cost: $50-$80

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


Telephone: 919.996.8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
Website »

More information

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The tribute band Rain celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of "Sgt Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band" by performing the historic album in its entirety in a psychedelic...

Cost: $35-$89

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy a beautiful morning on this easy-paced bird walk at Horseshoe Farm. We’ll likely see birds that frequent meadows and forests as we make our way around the unique habitats at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in fun, hands-on science experiments, which include chemistry, physics, materials and an engineering experiment. See website for ages and times. Register online. 

Cost: $55/child

Where:
SMILE Camp
6301 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: SMILE Camp
Telephone: 919-538-5278
Contact Name: Sheila Marsh
Website »

More information

Celebrate Black and African-American artists and stories. Ages 5-11 and caregiver.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Future Tigers, 'retired' Tigers and Tiger Fans of all ages can have a turn to take 10 swings at the plate for a $5 donation.  A prize of Tiger apparel and an autographed Tiger baseball...

Cost: $5 for 10 swings

Where:
Chapel Hill High School
1709 High School Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Chapel Hill High School Baseball Team
Telephone: 856-952-3054
Contact Name: Coach Lee Land
Website »

More information

The fifth annual Marbles Future Me Kids Career Fair introduces children to an architect, dentist, engineer and many other professionals representing a wide variety of...

Cost: $7 ages 1 and older

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


Website »

More information

Celebrate literature during Black History Month at the State Capitol, and hear the words and experiences of African-Americans echo through a structure built by African-Americans. The program...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina State Capitol
1 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

New York Times bestselling author and distinguished scholar Carole Boston Weatherford discusses how American history and cultural evolution is shaped by slavery, segregation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village Library
1930 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

See Shakespeare's most magical comedy performed by Playmakers Repertory company.  

Cost: Free

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 1.919.929.2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Rags to Riches Theatre for Young Audiences performs three spider tales,"Ananse and the Talking Melon," "Ananse and the Moss Covered Rock," and "Ananse Goes...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Rd.
Durham, NC  27703
View map »


Sponsor: The Scrap Exchange
Telephone: 919-213-1278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
Website »

More information

Walk with a park naturalist to look and listen for wildlife in the woods and fields as daylight transitions to night. Ages 4 and older; children must be accompanied by an adult. Register...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

See L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel "Anne of Green Gables" come to life in this stage adaptation by Peter DeLaurier. Enjoy the misadventures of Anne Shirley, a...

Cost: $12/adult, $6/ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a family-friendly comedy show from The Un-Intentionals Improv Troupe. Purchase food and beverages at the The Comedy Cafe before, during and after the show.

Cost: Free

Where:
First Baptist Church Morrisville
209 Church St.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: The Un-Intentionals
Telephone: 919-475-4211
Contact Name: Marc Moore
Website »

More information

Relive the magical adventure of Harry Potter's second year at school like never before. This concert features "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" in high-definition while...

Cost: $50-$80

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


Telephone: 919.996.8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

The Town of Cary’s 22nd annual celebration of African-American history and heritage features live entertainment and informative discussion. See the website for hours and fees. 

Where:
The Cary Theater
122 E. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

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