how to give your child a better childhood

3 Ways to Make Your Kids’ Childhood Better Than Yours

Jim Henson said, “Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” I remember growing up looking for people to emulate. So, for me, sports became a great place to find mentors and stability.

I don’t know about you—maybe you had a great childhood or a bad one. Whether you struggled as a kid or not, as a dad, you want to know how to give your child a better childhood. Here are 3 ways to make your kids’ childhood better than yours.

What do you wish your dad had done, but he never did? Do that for your kids.

1. By Picking Up Where Your Dad Left Off

What do you wish your dad had done, but he never did? Do that for your kids.  What did he start with you but never finish? Maybe there was a class project when you were a kid and your dad was too busy to help. So help your kids with theirs. Or start a fun project with your kids and finish it with them. Be involved in those seemingly small endeavors in your kids’ lives. As a dad, you’re setting the example for your kids. You get to set the tone by building up your kids’ capacity to commit—and your commitment to them shows them their value.

2. By Providing What Your Dad Couldn’t

Maybe your dad was physically present but emotionally unavailable. Or maybe he was busy trying to make ends meet. As a result, there was something you needed that you didn’t get—and I know you want to give your kids what you didn’t have. Maybe it’s security or maybe it’s the freedom to have fun without worry. Many of us needed our dads to spend more time with us. Sadly, our desires often turn into a quest to give our kids everything we didn’t have, but it’s almost always focused on material things. Resist the urge to only provide more financially for your kids. Be sure you’re providing for your kids in other ways—the things they can’t buy. Spend focused time with your kids. Be interested in them. I travel a lot for work, so when I’m home, I need to be locked in and fully engaged. For me, this doesn’t happen unless I press in and love what my kids love, or at least show interest. Your dad didn’t need to be good at this in order for you to be good at doing it for your kids.

3. By Pursuing Personal Growth

Do what it takes to become a better version of yourself, whether it’s learning to ask for feedback or taking better care of yourself. Do what you need to be the healthiest you can for your kids. My dad was big on not living with regret. He instilled that same idea in me. I think we all need someone who doesn’t allow us to look back on life and have a ton of regrets. What if you were that dad to your kids? Do these things well and you’re not only improving yourself and giving your kids a better dad, but you’re also showing them the value of creating standards and trying to live by them. You’re showing them you can affect other people’s lives with your actions.

Quick example: I want to instill in my kids how to be a good teammates. At any game, you’ll hear me teaching them from the sideline that after they score, they should point to the teammate who passed them the ball. Seems simple, but with sports, like in school and in life, it’s vital to realize you don’t score by yourself. You’re not alone and your actions affect others. So create standards and do your best to live by them. How different, for instance, would your childhood have been if your dad had done these things? It’s not too late for you to do them for your kids.

Sound off: How are you actively making your kid’s childhood better than your own?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What can I help you with right now?”