Any man can be a father, but it takes a truly special man to be a dad. Yes, there is a difference between “father” and “dad,” but defining the two can be tricky. Children have a funny way of explaining such complicated matters in simple ways. How do kids define the word “dad?”

Father and Son Playing Together

Dads Play and Act Goofy

Dads do more than just take the kids to school and ask them how their day was over dinner. Dads get involved. They play in the dirt outside, teach their kids how to play catch, and build forts out of couch cushions. They tell scary bedtime stories in a homemade tent and have tickle fights until their kids turn blue in the face from laughing.

Dads aren’t afraid to act goofy, and they make time to play with their kids.

Dads Knows Everything

Ask any kindergartner, and they’ll tell you dads know everything. That’s because dads take the time to answer their kids’ questions, and if they don’t have the answer right away, they’ll find it.

Dads take the time to listen to their children and their concerns, so they intuitively solve problems even when their kids aren’t asking for it.

Dads Are Always There

From soccer games to the first day of school, after-school programs and movie nights, dads are always there. When they say they’re going to do something, they do. They commit to plans with their kids, and make quality time a top priority.

A dad will be there in the moment when he’s with this kids. He won’t be checking work email, texting friends or trying to find ways to keep his kids busy.

When something goes wrong, dads are there to talk it through. Whether it’s a scrape on the knee or a teen’s first breakup, a dad will be there for his kids through the good times and bad.

Dads Lay Down the Rules

A dad makes time for play and will always be there for his kids, but he sets rules and boundaries, too.

Dads serve as guides and teachers, which means teaching children the difference between right and wrong. He cares enough to say “no” when needed, even if that upsets his children. He does the right thing – not the easy thing.

Dads Say “I Love You”

A dad isn’t afraid to tell his kids he loves them. He gives hugs, he brags about the homemade card his kids gave him for Father’s Day, and he isn’t afraid to express his emotions.

Dads Keep Their Cool

It’s easy to get caught up in emotions, especially anger, when life challenges you, but dads do their best to keep their cool in difficult situations. Rather than resorting to yelling, ridiculing or physical violence, dads will resolve the issue in a calm but assertive manner.

Dads Let Kids Be Kids

A dad isn’t afraid to let his children make mistakes. After all, that’s how children learn. Dads don’t try to fit their children into a mold or try to shape them into their vision of the perfect family. They let their kids be themselves, and they support their children in everything they do. Whether it’s joining a sports team, getting married or changing careers, a dad will always show his love and support in everything his kids do.

The simplest definition of a “dad” is someone who is there for his kids and shows them he cares. He does his best to give his children the best life he can, while making sure that he spends quality time with them whenever he can. Dads aren’t perfect — no one is — but they always give their children 100% of their time and love.

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