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Labor Support Tips For Dads: 6 Things You Should Do When Your Wife Is Giving Birth

Labor Support Tips For Dads: 6 Things You Should Do When Your Wife Is Giving Birth

If you have decided to be there to watch the birth of your child, get ready for the most awesome and wondrous event of your life which you will never regret. The only thing is that you have to do some homework and preparation if you really want to be supportive. That means hard work and also being courageous when things get tough and the whole process of giving birth takes longer than you and your wife ever thought. Here are 6 tips to help you through all this.

“The best part about having kids is not actually having to have kids. Thank you, women.” – Jarod Kintz, The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They’re Over.

1. Preparation is key

You cannot just turn up when things are happening. It takes a lot of preparation. If you have not attended childbirth and labor education classes, do so immediately. With classes, you know what is going to happen and the various phases of labor and childbirth. You know about C-section and why it may be necessary. Knowing the details helps you keep fears at bay so you can be strong for the woman you are supporting.

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It also means that you have to have your bag ready when the moment comes. This means having a change of clothes, your laptop,(as the hospital will have wi-fi), and plenty of reading material. There may be long waits if your wife has to have an epidural and you can get on with your own work, while she rests. Throw in some snacks in your bag because you too will need sustenance when things start to happen. Don’t be one of those who get dizzy and faint. Adequate food and nutrition are essential.

2. You know you are the supporter-in-chief

You have already been through the birth plan with your wife so you know exactly what she expects you to do and what she will need help with when giving birth. You know about the Braxton Hicks contractions and how these might be a false alarm. You also know that painful contractions which are lasting 30 seconds or more could be a sign that she is in early labor and you might have to get to the hospital pretty quickly, unless you are already there. You now know that throughout this phase, you have to be the solid supporter who is reassuring and confident that all will be well. Help her by keeping her company and distracting her through the use of games and TV. Help her by assisting her finding a comfortable position by using pillows, brushing her hair and applying gentle foot massages. Assist her with showering and getting dried. Basically, whatever the woman in your life needs is something you need to provide.

3. You have both decided what specific roles you will have

You will have discussed with your wife what other people should be present. Giving birth can be a bit frightening and wearing so there should be very few other people present and no videos should be taken although it will be perfectly okay to take normal photos when the baby is born. You will know whether you want to be the one to cut the umbilical cord and also if you want to be the one to hand the baby to his or her new mom.

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4. You know that contractions when giving birth can be painful

The best way to approach the whole pain question is to know that your presence is a key element in the birthing process. Each contraction is one step nearer to the happy event. You are there to encourage, hold her hand and to be the main cheerleader, but again you will have discussed that with your partner beforehand.

You can tell her that she is doing just great and give her practical assistance by feeding her with ice chips and helping to mop up the sweat. You cannot ease her pain but at least you are giving all the practical help you can. You have also discussed whether she will give you a sign that being touched while in pain may actually be uncomfortable. Some women cannot bear being touched during this delicate stage.

“Childbirth changed my perception of my wife. She was now the bloodied special forces soldier who had fought and risked everything for our family.” – Mohsin Hamid

5. You can discuss where exactly you want to be

If you feel a bit sick at having to witness all the yucky bits, ask the doctor or doula if you can be near your wife’s head so that you do not feel faint or keel over. You do not have to see everything! If there is to be a C-section, you may not want to see that either so being near your wife’s head where you whisper and encourage her is very important and will help shield you from some of the more gory aspects of childbirth.

You will have discussed what role you can play when the pushing has to start. Some women are quite happy if their partner helps by holding a leg up and out. You do not need to take part in any of the coaching as to when is the best time to push. The staff will look after all that!

6. Continue being supportive after the baby is born

You have brought the flowers and told the whole world!  But you will still need to be supportive, strong and loving as you both face new challenges in welcoming the little one into your lives. You can get into the new rhythm by helping with bathing and nappy changing. You can leave the breastfeeding to your partner!

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Did you know that up to 10% of new Dads suffer from a little postpartum depression too? You will have to cope with disturbed sleep patterns, you will need to be even-tempered and patient and also have a sense of humor as you both work out the new routine and help each other. Parenting will always be a shared task and start as you mean to go on. Take inspiration from President Obama who has said that fatherhood is the most important job he has.

Featured photo credit: birth72/Lindsey Turner via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on May 7, 2021

20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

  1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
  2. Introduce brain breaks.

Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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Active Brain Breaks

Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

1. Swapsies

Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

2. Dance Party

Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

3. Freeze Dance

Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

4. Keep It Up

Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

5. Simon Says

This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

6. Animal Movement

Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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7. Find It Fast

“Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

8. The Frog

Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

9. Pizza Delivery Time

Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

10. Limbo

We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

11. Human Knot

Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

12. Feather Balance

This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

13. Stack them high

The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

Relaxing Brain Breaks

We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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14. Meditation

Meditation

is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

15. Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

16. Reading/Listening to a Story

When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

17. Doodling

My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

18. Coloring Sheets

Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

19. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing

is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

20. Going Outside

Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

Final Thoughts

Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
[2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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