Tag Archives: Playtime

Digital Dads: Together Time App For iPhone

Playtime with your little dude is the best time.

No matter how much time you dudes are able to spend with the little dudette, it’s never enough to have all the fun you want to show her.

Oddly enough, though, there are some dads who get stage fright when it’s time to play. They’ll sit down, face the little dude and then go completely blank, with absolutely no idea whatsoever to do.

Which explains the continuing popularity of television as a babysitter.

Fortunately for those sorts of dudes, the folks at 7Potato have put together a little iPhone app to help you over the rough spots.

This is from their release.

Parents everywhere have superpowers! Unfortunately this power is often dormant because most parents don’t even know they have it. No, it’s not flying or shooting spider webs from wrists, but it does involve spiders of another sort: “Itsy Bitsy Spiders.” As handy as flying and web spinning would be for wrangling little ones, parental superpowers are far better and have a greater impact on the world.

 The Power of Play

The superpower that all parents have is play; it is something that we all share, but like Peter Pan, parents often forget how to play. If only there were an app for that. Well, now there is: Together Time with Song and Rhyme is a new app that helps parents bond with their preschoolers through fun, tickles, songs, and rhymes that support early childhood development.

 “Together Time makes parents more FUN for kids,” said Laura James, the app’s creator and founder of 7Potato.com. “Childhood is a once-upon-a-time opportunity, it only lasts a few short years. It’s easy for parents to spend too many of those years focused on trying to getting kids to behave in our adult world, when we could be using our superpower to make us child-like again.”

Parents are better served when they practice living in their children’s world and play.

“It’s more of a Jane Goodall approach,” James said, “where you observe and behave like the little creatures, to try and understand kids and their world, instead of trying to make the little creatures fit into your world.” 

Unfortunately, I can’t give you dudes a first-hand report on just how good this app really is, but it’s got 4.5 stars over at the iOS App Store. Just giving it the eyeball test, it sure looks darn good.

It’s only $4.99 at the App Store, which, in my mind, is low enough that you can take a flyer on the thing and see if it’s what you’re looking to find.

According to the release they sent, this sort of creative play can short-circuit bad behavior before it even begins. In looking over their strategy, I’ve got to say that a lot of the stuff they’re recommending is stuff that I used for my little dudes. Well, for the last little dude, mostly because it took until then to work out something that worked better than me gritting my teeth and hoping both of us would live through it.

Does your child refuse to get in the car? Start singing “Windshield Wiper” before you even get out the door. This helps set expectations for where you are going, rather than the seat they have to be strapped into, while giving your child a sense of fun.

 I’ve been talking a lot about jobs here lately. About a dad’s job. About a parent’s job. That sort of thing. One job I have yet to mention is the little dude’s job. And yeah, they do have one.

Their job is play. Playing with objects and people from the world around them will help acclimate them to their new surroundings and teach them how things work, what helps them and what hurts them.

“It supports their ongoing development physically, cognitively, and emotionally. One of the best parts of having kids is that it gives you an excuse to relive childhood. It goes by fast so have fun, play often and connect! If fun is the focus, learning will be the outcome, every time.”

Makes sense to me. If any of you dudes do download this app, please let me know how it works. I’d like to see if it is as good as it looks.

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Playtime

For a lot of dudes, the responsibility for a kid ends once they get their partner pregnant. After that, they think, it’s a woman’s job. Barry and I, rather obviously, disagree with that.

It’s the responsibility of every dude with a kid to spend as much time as possible with that kid. She’s going to need you in her life and you’re going to find that you need her just as much, if not more.

Barry has a little something to say about that. When we adopted our fourth child, the youngest, she was only three days old. I stayed home with her for a week, just me, while my wife had to go to work. It was hard, no question about that. I had to learn on the job how to take care of an infant girl. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Really. I got to be there for her and hold her and gaze into her eyes, and, of course, change all of her diapers. For almost a week, I was her whole world. And that’s a wonderful thing. I got to bond with her and she got to bond with me. What I remember most about that first week is having that child sling strapped across my chest and letting her sleep there. It was just soothing for me to feel her there because I could see and feel that she was breathing and happy and I didn’t have to worry about anything. I also took off time to be with the other kids we adopted, but, because they were older, it was a little bit easier to take care of them.

People say there’s a special bond between mother and child because she carried the baby for nine months inside her body. And, yeah, that’s probably true. We couldn’t say for sure. We only looked pregnant.

As for me, when our youngest was about a month old, I took over care of him all day. That was a shock. I’d only ever cared for our older boys when they were, in fact, older. I never knew how much harder it would be with such a little dude. He ran me ragged. So ragged, in fact, that when he took a nap, so did I. But, still, it was great to have all that time with him. Now, when he skins his knee, he cries out for daddy. I like that.

If you’re worried about what you’re going to do the first few times you get left alone with your little dude, well, don’t be. It’s not nearly as hard as you think. So your little dude is home and you’re ready for some serious quality daddy time with him and what’s the first thing you bring out? A regulation NFL football. Dude, the little dude is not ready for that sort of thing.

That’ll have to wait for a while yet. But toys are something you do need to do some serious thinking about. In any toy store, there’s plenty of advice about what type of toy is appropriate for what age dude. Make sure you look at the age appropriate rating of the toy before you bring it home for the little dude.

At one month old, your little dude is not going to do much with a Major League Baseball mobile that plays Take Me Out To The Ballgame. But he will love rattles and books or images with high-contrast patterns. There’s also plenty of books you can find that will tell you what toys and activities are appropriate for different ages.

But you don’t need toys to have a good time with your little dude. Because the best toy you’ll ever give the little dude is your own bad self. Even if your singing voice is bad enough that you sound terrible in the shower, your little dude will still love to hear you sing to him.

My favorite thing to do to my little dudes, even now when the two oldest dudes are  teenagers, is to sneak up on them and tickle them mercilessly. No toys needed, just nimble fingers. And quick feet. They like to counterattack.

Believe it or not, there are even books you can buy that have a whole set of hand games you can play with your little dude. All it takes is a little effort and you can have a great day with the little dude.

— Richard

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