How to Be a Happy Dad (And Why It’s Important)

Father and son having pillow fight, dad, family

Source: iStock

Being a father is one of the most rewarding and scariest jobs in the world. You are responsible for someone other than yourself, and it is your job to teach them and set them on the road we call life. Not easy, right? And doing it with a smile on your face despite all the messiness and un-predictability of children’s actions is even harder. However, as a father, it is better to breathe and take your fatherly duties with a great attitude, one that exudes happiness — even when you’re less than happy with them for coloring or wiping their dirty hands on the wall. No one said it was going to be easy, but doing it with happiness and without burden is the best thing you can do for your children. Although none of us are happy all the time, put a smile on for your children — after all, you’re their idol and their hero. Happiness is all about attitude and putting it into play. According to an article by, “a happy marriage, a secure bank account and good sleep make happy moms and dads.” Oh yeah, that too.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science in January 2013 by Katie Nelson, a doctoral candidate, and her colleagues, found that parents, on average, were a little happier than non-parents. Fantastic news, even if it’s by a little! They measured the results based upon how people evaluated their lives, how they feel on a day-to-day basis, and by what they prefer to do with their time. They found that parents get the most happiness out of caring for their children, compared to other life activities, so there you have it: caring for your children makes you happy. Here are a few more ways to be a happy dad — your children will thank you for it when they’re older.

1. Be present

This is first because it is the most important. What is the point of being a father if you’re not present for your kids, both physically and mentally? This is all about spending quality time with your children. Psychologist Emily Impett at the University of Toronto found that parents get a joyfulness boost when they interact with their kids, with the intention of providing love and security. Be there for them always and for the moments that count; they will never forget it.

2. Be involved in activities

Play with your children. Be involved in their make-believe games and enter into their world. Get involved with their sports, coach them, and teach them good sportsmanship. You love baseball? Bond with your children over your shared love for the sport.

3. Let your kids be who they are

Happy friends running in the park, kids

Source: iStock

Forget about your preconceived notions of what you want your children to be. They are not miniature versions of you; they are individuals who will grow up to be their own people with their own personalities and their own interests. You need to be there support them — let them spread their wings, and embrace their uniqueness and differences.

4. Teach forgiveness

You’re not perfect, neither are they (nor will they ever be). There will be times when you are wrong and it is important to ‘fess up to teach them the power of forgiveness. Also, if your child does something wrong, it is important that you let them know that you forgive them for their actions. It teaches them the difference between right and wrong and instills good morals and values.

5. Be good to your significant other

Showing your children that you love their mother is one of the most wonderful things you can teach them. Show your wife or significant other love and happiness, because happiness breeds more happiness.

6. Be consistent

father talking to son, parenting, family, kids, dad

Source: iStock

Be consistent with your rules and actions. Don’t let a screaming child cause you to give in. Be firm, so you can hopefully avoid temper tantrums in the future. You will be much happier if you stick to a set of rules and try not to stray from them.

7. Read to them

Read to them before they go to sleep. This is the time of day when you can really connect to your children, as the rest of the world is going to sleep. It’s a quiet time to teach and discover new worlds with them and take a breather from your hectic schedule. You’ll also be taking an active part in their learning. These are the moments that they will always remember.

8. Don’t forget about yourself

Scheduling “me time” is paramount in maintaining your sanity and overall happiness. This is something to never feel guilty about. Whatever your “me time” is, whether it’s just sitting in bed relaxing, taking part in your favorite hobby, or getting in a work out, do it. You cannot make others happy or take part in any sort of happiness if you are not first taking care of yourself.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: