Every dad has his own favorite ways to get in some quality time with his kids. When schedules are tight and life is hectic, it’s always important to make sure that kids are getting in time with each parent. Here, dads in Shanghai tell us their most memorable ways to bond with their little ones.
Kevin Bogardus, father of two (6 and 3 years old)
Weekends are when we spend the most time together and they always revolve around the kids, doing activities like swimming, playing games and watching movies. But perhaps the most meaningful is the 30-45 minutes each night before bedtime where we read, talk, pray and unwind. This is our uninterrupted time to bond and to cuddle. During the week I leave for work very early before the kids wake up, but I always make them breakfast before I leave so even though I am not there when they wake up they know I was thinking of them.
Barry Colman, father of two (10 and 7 years old)
Driving my kids to school is one of our favorite ‘dad-and-kids times.’ During those 35 minutes of time alone together, we like to sing songs along to the CD player (daddy’s choice: my kids were both big T-Rex and David Bowie fans by the age of 3) and talk about life and playing I-spy. On Sunday evenings, I like to cook dinner and my kids have been helping since they were able to stand; washing spuds, mashing things, scrubbing, shelling and now chopping and slicing. We spend time talking and they learn more about food at the end of it all.
Everett Chang, father of one (16 months old)
As far as quality time goes, we usually stick to our morning and evening routines. I get up in the morning with my daughter and we take our dog for a walk. She's only 16-months-old so I end up carrying her most of the way. Then we do some morning exercises with stretches and squats. In the evening when I get home, we eat dinner together and read a few books and play before bath time. After the bath I give her a baby massage and she falls asleep. For us, the key is to keep a routine so she knows there are some things that she can always count on.
Preston Kuo, father of two (1 and 3 years old)
In the summer months, my oldest daughter and I go to the local flower market and shop for flowers for Mom every weekend. In the wintertime I try to find a way to create a habit of fitness with her, so we go together to Cages and work out with FitFam every Sunday morning. Dads and their young kids crawl, play tag, run around together and even use the kids as weights. Creating the habit of fitness as a family and a community of fun dads has made time super rewarding.
Dr. Christian Orejudos, father of one (3 years old)
My favorite way to bond with my son is to help him get ready for bed. Usually we will start with me giving him a piggy-back-ride or horsey-ride to the bedroom. Then we go through a series of negotiations about which cartoon he will watch before bedtime and we watch that together. After brushing his teeth, I get him back into his bed and sway him to sleep. From time to time my wife and I will take turns doing this, but primarily he and I have this routine.
Siu Tang, father of two (3 years old and 16 months old)
I like to have my son come to my office and paint with me every Friday. I pick him up from school and take him to the office where he plays with toys and paint. It’s awesome as he gets to see what I do for a living and also make a mess, which we don’t usually encourage at home! It’s our time to hang out.
Nick Wiltshire, father of two (15 and 9 years old)
Due to hectic work schedules, I like to ensure I get as much time with my family as I can, especially during the weekends. I have a teenager who wants to do more and more grown up things, but on occasions still likes to play with the youngest and I when it comes to Nurf Gun battles in the house. On the weekends we usually go to lunch somewhere, do a bit of shopping and maybe go to the safari park, but most of the time it ends up with me giving in to the boy’s demands to either go swimming, play basketball, football, or table tennis or just do typical boy things.
Claes Lindgren, father of two (11 and 9 years old)
On a day off in Shanghai, I love to take my daughters Sara and Sofia on a walk along the Huangpu River with our dog Molly. We also enjoy going to brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Isola or going for massages as a family at Yili. I really enjoy taking them to volleyball practice and getting to see them have fun and be active.
Michael Premo, father of two (7 and 3 years old)
From the Dad Behind Raising Shanghai...
Some of the most fun I’ve had with my kids is when we are filming. I first started the video series Raising Shanghai (a series on urban-family.com that follows Michael and his family’s new adventures) as a way to document our time here and to get us out and try new things in the city. When we first started, only my daughter Adalie would participate, but now that my son Aiden is old enough, the three of us do it together and it’s a blast.
When we're out I try and let the kids make as many decisions on their own as possible. This strengthens our relationship and it shows my confidence in them. I learn a lot about my kids and being a parent making the show; I have to quickly filter out what's important and what's not at any given moment.
Adalie and Aiden both enjoy going back and watching our videos and the time we spend together has helped us bond as a family. Our show is about capturing those short moments in a child's life when they are most curious and leaving a lasting memory. I hope it gives other families motivation to get out and try new things too.