Eight Things Women Can Do to Get Fathers More Involved

Even though I’m married, I sometimes feel like a single mom. How can I get my husband to do more around the house and with our child?

About 90 percent of couples experience an increase in stress after their children are born. And the number one stressor, by far, is the division of labor in the home. Unfortunately, even the most egalitarian couples tend to slip into traditional roles, which means that you’ll probably end up doing more of the housework and childcare than your partner. Research shows that the more equitably domestic tasks are distributed, the happier wives (and husbands) are with their marriages. So resolving these issues may be critical to the health and success of your relationship. How are you going to do it? Well, if your goal is to make the division of labor around your house fairer to you, take a deep breath and read on.
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Sure you love your kids—but do they know that?

We all know how important it is to tell our kids we love them (or do we?). But how often do we actually show them? In a very cool study that was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that the children of nurturing, caring parents have larger hippocampi (hippocampus is the singular, but we all have two—one on each side of the brain) than kids whose parents are less nurturing and caring.

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Unexpected benefits of daycare

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are expecting our first and we’re on the fence about whether to hire a nanny or find a childcare center for our son. It would be great to have someone at home to take care of household chores, but our friends say that there are some great advantages—for us as parents—to having our child in daycare too. Is there any truth to this?

A: In a word, yes. While it’s every parent’s dream to come home to a sparkling clean house where the laundry and the toys have been put away and as healthy dinner’s on the table, having a child in daycare offers some definite benefits to parents as well as to kids. In fact, the same day as I got your email, I received a copy of a new book by Mario Small, a Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago, who has extensively studied a number of these benefits.

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Sharing: One of life’s great lessons

Dear Mr. Dad: My two-year-old is a terror on a playdate! He seems completely incapable of sharing toys and even grabs toys out of the hands of his little friends. I spend half of my time apologizing for him to other moms and dads. What can I do?

What a great question—reminds me of a poster one of my children’s day care providers had on her wall called “The Toddler’s Rules of Ownership.” Here are a few samples

  • If I like it, it’s mine.
  • If it’s in my hands, it’s mine.
  • If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
  • If I had it a week ago, it’s mine.
  • If it’s your and I steal it, it’s mine.

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