8 Reasons Why Dads Should Be Their Kid’s First Playmate.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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This is a guest post by John Anderson. He is a freelance writer for Executive Street, a daily resource blog for leadership, marketing, business finance, technology and communication. Follow him on Twitter or connect with on Facebook.

Being the father of two kids is no easy job. Sometimes, I’m not sure if I have actually put forth all the efforts possible to make my kids feel my involvement in their lives.

I’m constantly nagged with the fear that I may have been neglecting them. Dads’ involvement in kids’ early childhood makes big contributions to how their children grow up and what they become. Knowing this, as a father, I make efforts on a daily basis to ease my fears of accidentally neglecting my kids’ needs. I do this by playing the role of their first playmate, in and out of the house.

Give the needed motivation.

Playing with my kids lets me motivate them to get out of their shell by taking interest in playing with other kids. I’m able to give them the much needed motivation since, as a father, they consider me their role model. Playing with them gives me time with them and allows me to promote my opinions and insights. While playing, along the process, I’m able to let my kids know what’s going through my mind.

Happiness is invaluable

Being my kids’ playmate not only makes my kids happy, but makes me happy as well. Doing additional favors for my kids in relation to play gives me insurmountable contentment, too. I felt satisfaction and pride when I was able to construct DIY (Do-It-Yourself) playground equipment for my kids.

Whenever I engage in playground play with my kids, I’m able to make them feel loved and cherished. My kids get to feel my fearlessness in being a kid again, as I actively engage in different role plays with them in the playground.

Double as a friend

Dads should be their kids’ first playmate so they can develop a friendship with their kids as well. I can personally relate to this, because my son needs a friend and playmate. He’s a shy kid, and doesn’t have many friends. By having me as his friend, not just as his father, I am better able to give my son the self-confidence that he needs.

By playing with him, he does not have to feel alone in the presence of other kids in a commercial playground. He’d know that someone would have his back even though he had been having trouble making friends.

Safety comes first

Playground accidents commonly happen when nobody looks after the kids. There was a time when my one-year old daughter fell off a swing and hurt her head, while my wife and I were away in the kitchen cooking dinner.

I value playtime with my kids as also the opportune time to look after my kids’ safety. I need to be hands-on, because nobody else will care for them if I don’t do so.

My kids learn from me

As a father, I have many tough lessons I can share with my kids. I want them to become tougher in facing life’s different challenges. Even though kids have also learned what fathers learned from the playground, there’s still a thing or two they would only learn from their dads. One lesson is how to react to bullies. My involvement has helped me teach my kids to stand up to bullying, particularly in the playground.

Outdoor fearlessness

Residential playgrounds are great places for kids to inhibit their fears, since nothing compares to getting comfy right at the doorstep of one’s own home. My daughter used to be afraid of insects in the playground in our backyard. Watching me hold a lizard inspired my daughter to take after me.

Manly discipline

I know for a fact that I’m a better disciplinarian than my wife. I’m not afraid to combine play with a little toughness when I know my kids need it. As a father, I let my kids know I can be their friend and playmate. But, I also let them know I’m not afraid to speak my mind when I see them doing something wrong.

Physical play is number one

Playground interaction with kids allows opportune time to get physical while playing. I, for one, play ball with my kids in our backyard. This is something my wife does not do with our kids, since as a lady, she doesn’t like to get sweaty. It becomes my primary role, then, to keep our kids fit and in active shape.

I feel glad that I’m able to become a big influencer in my kids’ lives. Nothing surmounts the sense of gratitude I feel in being the dad my kids can be proud of.

Fathers, what else would you add to this list?


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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.